Skip to main content

Full text of "The labyrinth of the world and the paradise of the heart"

See other formats












\s.v\\ . 





Member of the Bohemian Society of Sciences, and of the Bohemian Academy 

formerly Deputy for Bohemia in the Austrian Parliament ; Author of 

" A History of Bohemian Literature," "Bohemia: an Historical 

Sketch" "Prague" (Medieval Towns Series) 




" Nevzali jsme ssebou 
Nic, po vsem veta 
Jen bibli Kralickou 
Labyrint sveta." 

" Nothing have we taken with us, 
Everything is lost ; 
We have but our bible of Kralice, 
Our Labyrinth of the World. " 

Song of the Bohemian Exiles. 

Printed by Cowan <t- Co., Ltd., Perth. 






On the Causes of this my Pilgrimage through the 

World - 59 

The Pilgrim obtains Impudence as a Guide - 61 

Falsehood joins Them 64 

The Pilgrim receives a Bridle and Spectacles 66 

The Pilgrim views the World from on High - 69 

Fate distributes Vocations - 74 

The Pilgrim beholds the Market-place of the World 77 

The Pilgrim beholds the State of Matrimony 89 

The Pilgrim examines the Order of the Tradesmen - 99 



The Pilgrim beholds the Fate of the Men of Learn 
ing, at first generally - 114 


The Pilgrim comes among the Philosophers publicly 129 

The Pilgrim studies Alchemy - 146 

The Pilgrim beholds the Rosicrucians - 150 

The Pilgrim studies Medicine - - - 157 


The Pilgrim beholds Jurisprudence - - 100 


The Pilgrim witnesses the Promotion of Masters and 

Doctors - _ / . i 163 

The Pilgrim beholds the Estate of Priesthood - 100 


The Pilgrim beholds the Christian Religion - - 171 

The Pilgrim beholds the Order of the Magistrates - 187 


The Estate of Soldiery - 198 

The Estate of the Knights - ,- 204 



The Pilgrim finds Himself among the Newsmen - 209 


The Pilgrim beholds the Castle of Fortune, and firstly, 
the Entrance to It 

The Pilgrim beholds the Ways of the Wealthy 21G 

The Ways of the Voluptuous in the World - 220 

The Ways of the Great of the World - 226 


Fama ferme vulgi opinions constat . - 

The Pilgrim begins to despair and to quarrel with 

his Guides 235 


The Pilgrim beholds the Palace of Wisdom, the 

Queen of the World 239 

How the Pilgrim was impeached in the Palace of 

Wisdom 241 

Solomon, with a Large Multitude, comes to the Palace 

of Wisdom .... 247 



The Pilgrim beholds the Secret Judgments and the 

Government of the World - 250 

Solomon discloses the Vanities and Deceits of the 

World - . . 265 


Solomon is deceived and misled - 268 


Solomon s Company is dispersed and captured, and 

perishes by Terrible Fashions of Death - 271 

The Pilgrim desires to flee from the World - - 274 

The Pilgrim finds his Way Home - - ^ 277 

The Pilgrim receives Christ as his Guest - . 280 

Their Betrothal - 283 

The Pilgrim is as one transformed - . 293 

The Pilgrim is ordered to enter the Invisible Church 295 

The Light of th Inward Christians - . 3QO 



The Liberty of those Hearts that are devoted to God 305 


The Regulations of the Inward Christian 308 

Everything is light and easy to the Hearts that are 

devoted to God - - - 315 


The Holy Ones have Abundance of Everything - 318 


The Safety of those who are devoted to God - 321 

The Godly have Peace on all Sides 325 


The Godly have Constant Delight within their Hearts 332 


The Pilgrim beholds the Christians according to their 

States - 334 

The Death of Faithful Christians 339 

The Pilgrim beholds the Glory of God - 341 

The Pilgrim is received into God s Household 343 

The End of All - 345 


I FEEL certain that it is venturesome to attempt to 
bring a work of a Bohemian writer before the 
English-speaking public, now the largest public 
of readers in the world. Even the name of my 
country has been known to English readers only 
in connection with associations that are both 
incongruous and absurd. 

It seems to me certain that the judgment that 
Bohemian critics have passed on Komensky s 
masterpiece, the " Labyrinth of the World," claim 
ing it to be one of the world s great books, is 
not unfounded or based on patriotic predilections. 
That the book is so little known must be attributed 
to various causes. Almost at the time that the 
" Labyrinth " appeared, Komensky s Church, the 
" Unity," as it was called, of the Bohemian or 
" Moravian " brethren, was expelled from Bohemia, 
and it became impossible for a book, written by so 
eminent a member of that community, to find 
readers in those countries where the language in 
which it was written was almost exclusively known. 
That language itself declined completely after 
Bohemian independence had perished in 1620, at 
the battle of the White Mountain, near Prague. 
These obstacles continued for many years. Dr. 

1 1 


von Criegern 1 tells us that in 1749 a list of 
"dangerous and forbidden books," published at 
Koniggratz, included the " Labyrinth." Even early 
in the nineteenth century an edition of the book 
was suppressed. I shall refer to these facts again 
later when mentioning the various editions of the 
" Labyrinth " and dealing with Komensky s 
religious views ; yet it may be mentioned here 
already that the " Labyrinth " is singularly free 
from " odium theologicuru." The Bohemians have 
always been devoted to the " Labyrinth." Its 
mysticism was very congenial to them, and the 
variety of picturesque incident that it contains 
appealed to an imaginative people. The book 
being prohibited, the few copies that escaped 
destruction passed from hand to hand secretly, and 
were safely hidden in the scattered cottages of the 
Bohemian peasants. The many Bohemian exiles 
who left their beloved country rather than forsake 
their creed often took the " Labyrinth " with them. 
With the " Bible of Kralice," 2 it was almost their 
only worldly possession, according to the words of 
their song, quoted by me on the title-page of this 

Komensky or Comenius, as he has generally 
been called in England never shared the fate of 
many Bohemian writers; that is to say, complete 

1 " Johann Amos Comenius als Theolog." 

- This refers to a translation of the Bible that was the joint- 
work of several divines of the " Unity, 33 assembled atKralice, 
in Moravia, about the end of the sixteenth century. It is a 
model of Bohemian diction, and Komensky modelled his 
style on it, to a great extent, when writing the "Labyrinth. 33 


oblivion. He has been saved from it by the fact 
that some of his educational works, written in Latin, 
have always been known to teachers. Thus his 
" Janua Linguarum " was in use as a school-book 
for nearly two centuries. An Anglo-Latin version 
of it was published at Oxford as late as in 1800. 
Some of Komensky s other educational works, such 
as the " Orbispictus," also became widely known. 
On the other hand, his later philosophical, or, as 
he called them, " pansophic " works have obtained 
but limited recognition. The power of condensing 
his thoughls and concentrating his mind that 
Komensky possessed when he wrote the " Laby 
rinth " failed him later in life, though the pansophic 
works for a short time attracted some attention, 
particularly in England. 

To those who are not either professed pedagogues 
or students for whom long-past theories on 
natural history and natural philosophy such as 
we tind in the pansophic works have an historical 
interest, Komensky s most valuable work will 
always be the " Labyrinth of the World." It is a 
work of the author s youth, though by no means 
his first work ; and he who later in his life became 
somewhat diffuse has here concentrated his ideas, 
and given in a few pages an almost perfect picture 
of the life and thought of Bohemia and Germany 
as they appeared to one living in the early years 
of the seventeenth century. 

The " Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise 
of the Heart " to give the book its full name- 
belongs to that large class of writings that are 


founded on the world-old conceit that imagines 
the world as a city and man as a pilgrim, who 
beholds it and examines it. It is natural that this 
allegorical idea took very different shapes in the 
hands of different writers. Sometimes, as with 
Komensky, the world appears twofold the evil, 
earthly world that is but mockery, and the " para 
dise of the heart " in which the soul finds solace, 
even before its union with God, " the centre of all." 
Oftener the latter ideal world only is delineated, as 
in countless works, from Plato downward. It is, I 
think, improbable that Komensky knew Plato s 
writings, but I feel certain that he knew the quaint 
work of the so-called Kebes, 1 entitled Hi va. There 
is no doubt that this now little known work in 
fluenced Komensky to some extent. I have now 
before me a copy of the edition of the book pub 
lished at Ley den in 1640. It contains an engraving 
that could almost be imagined as being an illustra 
tion of Komensky s allegorical work. We see the 
gate of life, through which all must enter ; the 
various streets in which men reside, according to 
their callings ; and in the heights the dwellings of 
eternal bliss. More s " Utopia " and Campanella s 
" Civitas Solis " undoubtedly influenced Komensky 
when writing the " Labyrinth," and he mentions 
both More and Campanella by name in the book. 
On the other hand, there is no trace in it of the 

i This book was long attributed to Kebes, a disciple of 
Plato. Recent research has rendered it probable that it 
was written by a philosopher during the reign of the 
Emperor Marcus Aurelius. 


influence of " Verulamius," as Komensky always 
calls Bacon, though his later writings have evidence 
of a considerable study of the works of Bacon, 
whom he frequently mentions. 1 It may perhaps 
be conjectured that he only studied these works 
later, perhaps at Lissa. 

The books, however, that influenced Komensky 
most when writing the " Labyrinth " were some of 
the works of John Valentine Andrea. 2 It is certain 
that Komensky studied the works of the Wiirtem- 
berg divine during his stay at Brandeis ; and it is 
obvious that some of these works, such as the 
" Fama Fraternitatis," " Roseas Crucis," " Peregrini 
in Patria errores," " Civis Christianus," " Republics 
Christianopolitanse Descriptio " itself obviously an 
adaptation of Catnpanella s "Civitas Solis" and 
others too numerous to mention, greatly influenced 
Komensky when writing the " Labyrinth." The 
passages culled from these and other works of 
Andrea that resemble passages in the " Labyrinth " 
have been very carefully collected by Dr. von 
Criegera in his " Comenius als Theolog." This 
valuable book is, unfortunately, tainted with the 
Teutonic mania that strives to deny all originality 
of thought to the Slavic race. The mere fact that 
these analogies are chosen from various different 

1 In his " Physica," Komensky writes that Verulamius and 
Campaiiella are " the two Hercules that have vanquished 
the monster Aristotle." 

2 A Lutheran divine, born 1586, and a very copious writer 
in the then fashionable allegorical manner. He was Court 
Chaplain at Stuttgart for many years, and then (Protestant) 
Abbot at Babenhausen, and afterwards at Adelsberg. He 
died at Stuttgart in 1654. 


works of Andrea weakens Dr. von Criegern s argu 
ment. It is not my purpose to enter into this 
matter here. It is certain that the first chapter of 
the " Labyrinth " is little but a paraphrase of the 
opening part of Andrea s " Peregrinus," that the 
pilgrim s visit to the philosophers (chap, xi.) is 
largely founded on a passage of Andrea s " Mythol- 
ogia Christiana," and that his visit to the Rosicru- 
cians 1 is mainly copied from Andrea s writings 
concerning that community. 2 Yet this but slightly 
detracts from Komensky s originality of thought. 
It has already been noted that the conceit of a 
pilgrim travelling through the world, as well as 
the conception of an ideal city, are world-old ideas 
which belonged to Komensky, as rightly as to 
Andrea, whose " Republics Christianopoli Fanse " 
is, as I have already noted, an adaptation of the 
" Civitas Solis." Even at a slight glance at 
Andrea s ponderous writings, it will be seen how 
Komensky has enriched and vivified those con 
ceptions that he borrowed from him. Dr. von 
Criegern goes so far as to declare that even the 
pessimism of the " Labyrinth " is duo to the in 
fluence of Andrea. "Andrea," he writes, "was 

1 De Quincy, in his " Historico-Critical Inquiry into the 
Origin of the Ilosicrucians and Freemasons, 3 has conjectured 
that Andrea himself was the originator, or at least the 
reviver, of that community. His armorial bearings a St. 
Andrew s Cross and four roses were undoubtedly their 

2 How little Komensky feared the accusation of plagiarism 
is proved by the fact that he gives the name of one of 
Andrea s books, "Fama Rosseorum," to one of the divisions 
of chapter xiii. This, according to the custom of the day, 
was equivalent to declaring the passage to be a quotation, 


entirely pessimistic in his views, and even in his 
appearance resembled Schopenhauer." A more 
profound study of the life of Komensky would 
have rendered it very clear that Komensky at 
least, the Komensky of the " Labyrinth " became 
embittered through the circumstances of the time, 
and certainly required no foreign influence to 
strengthen such feeling. That Komensky, when 
writing school-books, wisely refrained from ex 
pressing such views is, I think, very natural ; nor is 
it to the point that books written many years after 
the " Labyrinth " certainly tend to what is called 

It is certain that when writing the " Labyrinth " 
Komensky wrote as a pessimist. That term has in 
recent years bee used so largely and so vaguely 
that it may perhaps be as well to mention the sense 
in which I employ it. I consider that man a pessi 
mist who believes that if we sum up the emotions 
and sensations of life in this world, we will find 
that those that are painful are both stronger and 
more numerous than those that are pleasurable. 
If we assume this standpoint, a man is neither 
more nor less a pessimist whether he believes that 
the joys of a future life will make good the horrors 
of the present one, or whether he longs for the 
quiet of Nirwana, or patiently awaits the absorp 
tion of his individuality in the totality of the 
world-soul. To prove that Komensky was a pessi 
mist, it is sufficient to read the " Labyrinth " with 
out the last chapters (xxxvii. to liv.), to which the 
author gave the separate name of the " Paradise of 



the Heart." Komensky, though eschewing theolo 
gical controversy, writes as a devout Christian, 
and, indeed, member of the Unity. To Komensky 
(as I wrote some time ago), " it seemed that happi 
ness, unattainable here, can be found elsewhere." 
This is, I think, the keynote of the " Labyrinth." 

I have hitherto only referred to works that are 
earlier in date than the " Labyrinth " ; but of all 
allegorical tales, the one that bears most resemblance 
to the " Labyrinth " is the " Pilgrim s Progress." l 
In both books a pilgrim passes through the evil 
world, with its great suffering and its many 
temptations. Evil guides lead astray both 
Komensky s and Bunyan s pilgrim, arid both finally 
find perfect happiness and solace of their sorrows 
by means of God s grace. There are many minor 
resemblances both books, for instance, contain a 
somewhat comic trial that the reader will discover 
for himself. Yet there are great contrasts also 
between the two books, founded on the very 
different conditions of the writers. Bunyan knew 
only the tenets of his own community and the low 
life of his time. Komensky, on the other hand, 
had, at the time when he wrote the " Labyrinth," 

1 It has been suggested to me that Bunyan may have had 
knowledge of the " Labyrinth," and that his words, u Some say 
the Pilgrim s Progress is not mine, insinuating as if I 
would shine, in name and fame, by the worth of another," 
refer to it. I consider this very improbable. There has, of 
course, never been an English translation of the " Labyrinth," 
and though Komensky may have mentioned his book during his 
stay in London, yet no information of this can well have 
reached Bunyan. Besides, as I have already stated, the idea 
on which both books are founded is far older than either of 


travelled widely, studied at schools and universities, 
inquired into the latest theological and philosophical 
theories of his time, conferred with many learned 
men, and by means of his acquaintance with Charles 
of Zerotin, acquired some knowledge also of the life 
of the great of the world. 

Bohemian writers have sought analogies to the 
" Labyrinth " among yet later writers, and have 
compared Goethe s " Wilheim Meister s Lehr-und 
Wanderjahre " to Komensky s masterpiece. Such 
comparisons appear to me to be too far-fetched to 
require more than passing notice. 

It may be well to give a brief outline of the 
" Labyrinth." The pilgrim, when arrived at that 
age " when the human mind begins to understand 
the difference between good and evil," starts on a 
voyage through the world to view it, and then 
" consider what group of men I should join, and 
with what matters occupy my life." The pilgrim 
is now joined by " Searchall " (called also " Im 
pudence "), and afterwards by " Falsehood," evil 
guides thut are servants of " Vanity, the queen of 
the world." By permission of " Fate, the lord 
regent of the queen/ the pilgrim is allowed to 
enter the city of the world. He sees that it is 
" built in the shape of a circle," and is divided into 
countless streets, squares, houses, bigger and smaller 
buildings. The six principal streets are named 
according to the six principal professions, or 
" estates," as Komensky calls them, whose members 
dwell in them. They are the streets of the married 
people, the tradesmen, the scholars, the clergy, the 


magistrates and rulers, and lastly, the knights and 

Bohemian writers have often remarked that these 
divisions appear somewhat arbitrary. It is, for 
instance, strange that matrimony should appear as 
an " estate " in distinction from other professions or 
callings. On the other hand, the reader is surprised 
that Komensky, writing in a country so largely 
agricultural as Bohemia, should not have mentioned 
the peasantry as one of the " estates." I venture 
a conjecture concerning this matter. The sym 
pathy that Slavic writers from Chelcicky to 
Count Tolstoy have always expressed for the 
peasants, " the humble," is very evident in 
Komensky also. I need only refer to such 
passages in the " Labyrinth " as p. 306, when 
the writer refers to the cruel suffering that the 
Bohemian peasants underwent at the hands of the 
lords, and yet more of the overseers, whom the 
lords often absentees placed over them ; and to 
the passage (p. 307) where the peasants receive 
the ironic answer to their complaints, " that if by 
willingness, compliance, and true attachment to 
their superiors and rulers, they could gain their 
favour, they should be allowed to enjoy it." As 
the main purpose of the earlier part of the " Laby 
rinth " is to prove that all professions are but 
vanity, and contain more evil than good, there was 
here no place for the peasants, who were humble 
by necessity, and had willingly or unwillingly to 
follow Komensky s precept, that it is better to obey 
than to rule. 


After the pilgrim has passed twofold gates, he 
beholds the various estates of mankind in the order 
mentioned above. When dealing with matrimony, 
Komensky expresses very pessimistic views, largely, 
I think, to consistently maintain his theory that 
everything earthly is evil ; for it may be mentioned 
here that Komensky, who became a widower in 
1622, married again in 1624, and after losing his 
second wife, married again late in life. 

The pilgrim now comes to the street of the 
tradesmen, and Komensky s descriptions here throw 
a great deal of light on the dangerous and laborious 
life then led by those who were employed in trade 
and the transport of merchandise. The waggoners 
underwent many hardships, and the fate of the sailors 
was yet worse. Very picturesque is the description 
of a sea voyage and subsequent shipwreck. It is 
founded on the author s experiences during his 
journey to England, and is therefore a later 
addition, which we first meet with in the edition 
of the "Labyrinth" published at Amsterdam in 1663. 
Komensky s comparison of the different parts of 
a waggon to the different parts of a ship is one 
of the many quaint conceits that render the 
" Labyrinth " so attractive. 

The pilgrim then visits the scholars or learned 
men. His descriptions of school-life, written from 
his own experiences, are very distressing. Plagosus 
Orbilius had at that time many imitators in the 
Bohemian schools. The pilgrim then pursues his 
journey through the halls of higher learning, and 
his visit to the scholars is indeed described with 


far more detail than that to any of the other 
" streets." The pilgrim visits consecutively the 
philosophers here Komensky gives a curious list 
of philosophers founded on Andrea the gram 
marians, rhetoricians, and poets. The writer 
violently attacks the heathen poets of Greece and 
Rome, whom, indeed, in his capacity as a pedagogue, 
he afterwards wished to expel from the schools 
and replace by Christian writers. Fortunately, 
from the point of view of classical scholarship, this 
attempt failed. The pilgrim, or rather Komensky, 
then visits the dwellings of those who teach the 
various other branches of learning, delivering short, 
and sometimes sharp, criticisms on the scientific 
theories that were current in his day. Sometimes 
he deals, with veiled irony, of matters also that are 
now no longer considered subjects of scientific 
research, such as the quadrature of the circle, the 
philosopher s stone, astrology and alchemy. As 
regards alchemy, 1 we must, however, remember that 
it was considered by learned men a subject worthy 
of serious study, even many years after the 
" Labyrinth " was written. 

The pilgrim next visits the street of the clergy. 
After referring briefly to the Jews and Mohamme 
dans, Komensky devotes a long chapter (chap, 
xvii.) to the Christian creed. The comparative 
tolerance shown here to views different from those 

i In 1667, Spinoza entered into a correspondence with some 
friends on the subject of alchemy. " He was obviously dis 
posed to think seriously of the matter [i.e., alchemy] at that 
time." Sir F. Pollock," Spinoza," p. 62. It is but fair to add 
that Spinoza s views on this subject afterwards changed. 


of the writer deserves notice, though it is always 
evident that his sympathy is with the "true 
Christians," as he terms the members of the 
Unity. Komensky s diatribe against unworthy 
priests and bishops, " who wear a coat of mail over 
a surplice, a helmet over a barat ; who hold the 
Word of God in one hand, a sword in the other ; 
who carry Peter s keys in front, and Judas s wallet 
behind; whose mind is educated by Scripture, 
though their heart is practised in fraud; whose 
tongue is full of piety, though their eyes are full of 
wantonness," will, at the present day, appear 
offensive to the members of no Christian com 
munity. Komensky s conception of Christianity, 
as a vast church that has many side-chapels for 
those who profess the various Christian doctrines, 
is one of the finest allegories in a book in which 
fine allegories are frequent. 

The pilgrim s path next leads him among the 
magistrates and rulers. The trial of Simplicity 
before the judges is very quaint, and proves that 
Komensky was by no means devoid of humour. 
The names of some of the judges, such as Lovegold, 
Takegift, Loveself, remind the reader of Bunyan. 

After the magistrates, the pilgrim visits the 
rulers. They have neither eyes nor ears nor 
tongue, and communicate with their subjects by 
means of tubes. Komensky thus describes satiri 
cally the difficulty which a humble man encounters 
when he endeavours to approach the rulers, who 
see, hear, and speak only through their courtiers 
and councillors. 


The pilgrim is now conducted to the street of the 
soldiers and knights. Here the intense hatred 
of bloodshed and warfare, so characteristic of the 
brethren, is very evident. The battle-piece 
(chap, xx.) has rightly been admired as one of the 
most striking and eloquent things that Komensky 
ever wrote. Of the knights, Komensky writes some 
what briefly. His writings show that he shared 
the detestation of coats-of-arms, and all hereditary 
dignities, that was characteristic of his community, 
from Chelcicky l (indirectly its founder) downward. 
It is scarcely doubtful that Komensky dealt but 
superficially with this matter, to show well-deserved 
courtesy to Charles, lord of Zerotin, under whose 
protection he then resided at Brandeis, and to 
whom the "Labyrinth" is dedicated. Charles of 
Zerotin, a great statesman and a great Bohemian 
writer, 2 was indeed, as regards his fame, by no 
means dependent on the glory of his ancestors. 
Yet even a far-seeing and enlightened nobleman 
like Zerotin, to whom Komensky s short and severe 
account of knightly life was in no way applicable, 
would perhaps have resented sharper attacks on 
the knights and nobles of his country. 

Having now found but vanity and vileness in 
the six principal streets of the city of the world, 
the pilgrim, still conducted by his guides, Searchall 

1 ^ ^l eldc ^ see m y " History of Bohemian Literature " 
pp. 153-157, and particularly pp. 159-171. I have there trans 
lated part of Chelcicky s fiercely satirical attack on the 
armorial bearings of the Bohemian nobles. 

see my 


and Falsehood, proceeds in the direction of the 
Castle of Fortune. The guides tell him that those 
who have in their estates struggled successfully 
in the city here enjoy perfect comfort and all 
pleasures. A curious intermezzo occurs here ; near 
the lower gate of the castle the pilgrim meets the 
" newsmen " it would be an anachronism to call 
them journalists they carry whistles, on which 
they pipe different and discordant notes, some 
cheerful, some melancholy. 

To the castle, one principal gate, that of virtue, 
leads ; but it is difficult of access, and little 
frequented. There are also several side-entrances, 
which have various names such as Hypocrisy, 
Injustice, Violence, and so forth. Even those who 
have passed through the outward barriers are not 
all allowed to ascend to the castle itself. This 
depends on the caprice of Fortune, who lifts up 
ward on her wheel those who find favour with her. 
The castle itself has three floors, in which the rich, 
the voluptuous, arid the famous men dwell. The 
pilgrim first visits the rich, whom he finds hugging 
their chains, which they believe to be golden. He 
then ascends to the banquet hall of the revellers. 
Komensky here gives an incident of a truly comic 
character. The pilgrim is at first horrified by the 
behaviour of the banqueters, whom he leaves after 
having severely rebuked them. He is, however, 
induced by his guides to return, and joins in the 
revels but too freely ! He then arrives at the 
dwelling-places of the famous men, who have 
achieved immortality ; but he is disappointed here 


also, for among those whose fame will endure for 
ever he finds Herostratus. 

The pilgrim, finding the labours and the joys of 
the world equally vain and distasteful, now begins 
to despair ; but his guides comfort him by telling 
him that they will lead him to the palace of the 
Queen of Wisdom which is really that of worldly 
wisdom or vanity. He finds the queen surrounded 
by numerous councillors and guards, who bear 
fantastic allegorical names. His guides then 
accuse him before the queen of being "anxious, 
disgusted with all things, and desirous of something 

The queen none the less receives the pilgrim 
graciously, and invites him to remain in her palace, 
where he hopes henceforth to live in peace. Mean 
while, Solomon, accompanied by a large following, 
consisting of philosophers and scholars of all 
countries, arrives at the queen s court, and claims 
her in marriage. The queen answers through 
" Prudence, her councillor," that " Wisdom was the 
spouse of God alone, and could wed no other." 
Solomon, however, remains at her court, and in his 
presence and that of his followers the queen 
receives numerous deputations of nobles, scholars, 
j urisconsults, labourers, and others. These petitions, 
and the replies given to them like the pilgrim s 
visits to the streets of the world, and afterwards to 
the dwellers in the Castle of Fortune throw a 
strong and clear light on many circumstances con 
nected with the social and political life of Bohemia 
and Germany in the early years of the seventeenth 


century. They have, therefore, considerable value 
for those who study this period. 

On the other hand, it must be admitted that 
many of the grievances and complaints contained 
in these passages of the " Labyrinth " are world- 
old, belong to all times, and will, no doubt, endure 
for ever. Men will always enlarge on the hard 
ships of those who seek fortune, the pedantry and 
credulity of scholars, the "odium theologicum " so 
great among those who teach the doctrine of peace 
and goodwill, the brutality of the soldiery, the 
injustice of judges, "the law s delay, the insolence 
of office." 

But to return to the pilgrim. He had been 
listening to the speeches of the deputations, with 
the other members of the queen s Court, when the 
audiences are suddenly interrupted. Incensed by 
the deceitful decrees of the queen, Solomon ex 
claims with a loud voice : " Vanity of vanities, and 
all is vanity ! " He then tears the mask from the 
face of the queen, and she, who had previously 
seemed beautiful, now appears as a hideous hag. 
Solomon and his followers leave the queen s palace, 
and hurrying to the city of the world, they loudly 
proclaim the vanity of all earthly things. The 
queen is at first terrified by Solomon s invective, 
but soon recovers her senses, and assembles all her 
councillors, asking them to advise her how she can 
best expel Solomon from her dominions. Some 
advise the arming of all the queen s forces, but 
others suggest that the queen should employ craft 
rather than violence ; at least, at first. The latter 


counsel prevails. Three of the queen s companions, 
Flattery, Affability, and Pleasure, follow Solomon 
into the city of the world, and entice him into the 
street of the married people. His follies there are 
described in a manner that very closely follows the 
Biblical account. The queen now decides to attack 
Solomon, who has been deserted by many of his 
followers. A fearful massacre ensues, and the 
terrified pilgrim exclaims : " O God, if Thou art a 
God, have mercy on wretched me ! " and he then 

We have now reached the second part of the 
" Labyrinth," to which Komensky has given the 
name of the " Paradise of the Heart." Henceforth 
everything is changed; all sordid, and sometimes 
coarse, allusions to worldly matters vanish, and we 
find ourselves in an atmosphere of purest mysticism. 
Christ appears to the pilgrim and welcomes him 
home that is to say, as one who, from his earthly 
wandering, has returned to the solitude of his 
heart. He then receives Christ as a truest in his 


humble dwelling, and they are mystically betrothed. 
Christ informs the pilgrim that he is one of those 
whom He has chosen, and gives him instructions as 
to his behaviour during the time that he will yet 
remain upon earth. These instructions are, of 
course, entirely in accordance with the teaching of 
the Bohemian brethren, the community to which 
Komensky belonged. 

Though yet remaining on earth, the pilgrim now 
beholds the splendour of heaven in a vision, and 
sees God on a throne of jasper, surrounded by the 


hosts of the angels. The influence of the Apocalypse 
is here very evident. Komensky, as all the 
" brethren " of his time, was an indefatigable 
student of Scripture. The " Bible of Kralice," to 
which I have already referred, was always in their 
hands, and the " Labyrinth " shows many traces of 
its study. Komensky s vision of heaven is very 
striking, and I do not hesitate to say that it has 
sometimes reminded me of Dante s " Paradise." 

After the vision has disappeared, the pilgrim 
falls on his knees and addresses to God a prayer, 
breathing that passionate and disinterested love of 
the divinity that is so characteristic of the mystics. 
With this chapter the book ends. But in this 
chapter, as in several others, such as that which 
deals with the pilgrim s mystical betrothal with 
Christ, we are carried upward to the highest 
summits of mystic thought. Had the book been 
written in a language better known than that of 
Bohemia, it would, I think, have -ranked high 
among the works belonging to that school of 
thought. It would be interesting to examine to 
what extent Komensky was influenced by the 
writings of the German mystics, but limited space 
renders this impossible. 

Though the " Labyrinth " is, to a certain extent, 
a philosophical work, and, to a certain extent, also 
a book of adventure, yet it must be considered as 
mainly a theological work. It could not be other 
wise as regards a book written by Komensky, who 
called himself " hominem vocatione theologum," 
and who, in all his writings, even on other subjects, 


referred constantly to theological matters. Thus, 
in his " pansophic works," philosophy is still the 
handmaiden of theology, an idea that even in his 
days was already becoming obsolete. 

If we consider at what time and under what 
circumstances the " Labyrinth " was written, we 
shall be surprised to find how little religious con 
troversy and "odium theologicum" it contains. If 
we except a brief allusion 1 to the cruelty with 
which the Church of Rome enforced its doctrine, 
there is in the book no attack even on that Church 
that was then cruelly persecuting the brethren. 
The more enlightened Catholics have not failed 
to recognise this. The learned Bohemian Jesuit 
Balbinus, 2 wrote in his " Bohemia Docta " : 
" Komensky wrote very many works, but none that 
were aimed at the Catholic Church. When read 
ing his works, it has always appeared to me that 
he wrote with great prudence, as if he did not wish 
to show preference to any religious doctrine, nor 
condemn any." In the present century also the 
historian, Dr. Gindely, a writer of pronounced 
Catholic views, has declared that some of the works 
of Komensky are as those of a saint. That in spite 
of these enlightened judgments, both temporal and 
ecclesiastical authorities have several times at 
tempted to suppress the " Labyrinth " has already 
been mentioned. The teaching of Komensky is 
that of the "Unity," which insisted mainly on a 
holy life, and advised the brethren to live secluded 

1 Chapter xviii. 15. 

2 Born, 1621 ; died, 1688. 


lives ; to eschew as far as possible worldly honours ; 
to obey, rather than to command ; in short, to con 
form as closely as they could to the ways of the 
first disciples and followers of Christ. Leaving all 
doctrinal considerations aside, it cannot be denied 
that this was a lofty ideal. 

On controversial matters, Komensky, in the 
" Labyrinth," is significantly silent. As Dr. von 
Criegern writes, even the questions of free will and 
predestination that divided the Lutherans and 
Calvinists, to which communities the brethren were 
closely related, though they belonged to neither, 
Komensky devoted little attention. There are, 
however, several passages in the last chapters of the 
" Labyrinth " (the " Paradise of the Heart ") that 
afford some evidence in favour of the author s belief 
in predestination. I have already referred to the 
mysticism of the " Labyrinth." The mystic con 
ception of light is very prominent in the book, and 
is occasionally rather puzzling to the reader, as the 
word appears sometimes in its ordinary, sometimes 
in its allegorical, signification. The conception of 
Christ as " the centre of all things " is also com 
mon to many mystics, as is the great stress laid on 
various odours, as the reader will find in many 
passages of the " Labyrinth." M. Nordau would, 
no doubt, on the strength of this peculiarity, enrol 
Komensky among the " Entartete " ; it is, however, 
true that mysticism itself is degeneracy, according 
to M. Nordau. 

I have already written much on Komensky s 


life, 1 but I think the readers of the " Labyrinth " 
will wish to find here a short account of the long 
and eventful life of its author. I shall do this as 
briefly as possible, except when dealing with 
Komensky s stay at Brandeis, where he wrote the 
" Labyrinth." 

John Amos Komerisky " was born in 1592 at 
Uhersky Brod, 3 a small town in Moravia. He lost 
his parents when quite young, and received his 
earliest education at Uhersky Brod, at the school 
that the brethren had established there. His 
family had long belonged to that community. 
Komensky s experiences at school were very pain 
ful. The almost inconceivable brutality of the 
teachers of that day, who looked down on corporal 
punishment not merely as a penalty for offences, 
but as a measure that was likely to stimulate the 
minds of the young to intellectual efforts, deeply 
impressed the high-strung nature of young 
Komensky. He has alluded to his school-days 
in the " Labyrinth " (chap, x.), and there is little 
doubt that the recollection of his early experiences 
influenced him when he endeavoured later in life 
to amend the educational system. After leaving 

1 1 have referred to it briefly in my " Bohemia : an Historical 
Sketch, and more fully in my " History of Bohemian 

2 According to the latest researches, the name of Komensky s 
family was originally Milic ; they adopted the name of 
Komensky (Latinised to Comenius) when they settled in 
the little village of Komna, in Moravia. Komensky s father 
afterwards moved from there to the neighbouring town of 
Uhersky Brod. 

3 I.e., " The ford of the Hungarians." 


Uhersky Brod, Komensky spent some time at the 
school of the Unity at Prerov (Prerau), also in 
Moravia, and then proceeded to the Calvinist 
University at Herborn, in Nassau. That university, 
founded in the sixteenth century by Henry, Count 
of Nassau, was then one of the strongholds of the 
Calvinist creed. The brethren often sent their 
promising pupils who were to become clergymen 
to that university, rather to the then utraf uist 1 
University of Prague. It is certain that Komensky s 
views, particularly early in life, show traces of his 
Calvinistic training. From Herborn, Komensky 
proceeded to Heidelberg, then the residence of 
Frederick of the Palatinate, destined shortly after 
wards to become the " winterking" of Bohemia. 
Though we have little positive information on the 
matter, he seems to have travelled extensively at 
this period, to have visited the Netherlands and 
Amsterdam, which was to be the refuge of his last 

Komensky returned to his own country in 1614, 
and was appointed a minister of his Church in 1616, 
with residence in the small town of Fulneck, in 
Moravia. He married there, and spent a few 
peaceful years, the happiest of his long life. 

But even a pious preacher and teacher could not 

l l.e., receiving Communion in both kinds (subutraque). 
This was the official designation of all those not Romanists 
who, up to the battle of the White Mountain, enjoyed religious 
freedom in Bohemia. The old utrafuist teachings, such 
as then prevailed at the University of Prague, differed but 
little, except on this one point, from the teaching of Rome; 
and the more advanced reformers therefore preferred to send 
their youths to foreign universities. 



long remain untouched by the vicissitudes of the 
Thirty Years War, and the unspeakable horrors 
that befell Bohemia and Moravia after the battle 
of the White Mountain in 1620. In the follow 
ing year, Spanish troops, that came as allies of 
Ferdinand II., German Emperor and Archduke of 
Austria, attacked the small town of Fulneck. The 
town was captured without resistance. Here, as 
almost everywhere at that time, the inhabitants 
immediately submitted to the victorious Romanists. 
Kornensky s house was pillaged and burnt down, 
and to him almost a greater loss his library and 
MSS. also perished in the flames. Komensky fled 
to Bohemia with his wife and children, and sought 
refuge with Charles, Lord of Zerotin, at Brandeis 
on the Orlice. 1 I have already mentioned the name 
of Charles of Zerotin. During the war that had 
just ended he had, though a fervent Bohemian 
patriot and member of the Unity, not espoused 
the cause of Frederick of the Palatinate, but had 
remained faithful to the House of Habsburg. It 
was therefore natural that the victors showed 
him a certain amount of consideration. His vast 
estates were not confiscated by the Austrian 
Government, and he was allowed to remain in 
the dominions of the House of Habsburg. He 
was even tacitly, though by no means officially, 
granted yet further privileges ; he was allowed 
to afford at least temporary shelter to some of 
the clergymen of his Church, whom one of the 

1 In German, "Adler." 


first decrees of the victors had expelled from 

Komensky, as I have already mentioned, was 
one of those who availed themselves of the 
hospitality of Zerotin. As far as the rather un 
certain accounts inform us, he did not live in the 
town of Brancleis, but in a cottage on the opposite 
bank of the Orlice, at the foot of the hill still 
called "Klopota." This is confirmed by the fact 
that Komensky has thus signed his Latin dedica 
tion of the "Labyrinth" to his patron: "Dabam 
sub Klopot Idibus, Dec. 1623." According to very 
old traditions, the wooden cottage or hut (the 
Bohemian "chalupa") in which he lived was of 
very ancient origin, having been built with his 
own hands by Brother Gregory, 1 one of the 
founders of the Unity. 

Brandeis, on the Orlice, which will always be 
memorable to all Bohemians as the spot where 
Komensky wrote the "Labyrinth," was then 
already holy ground for a member of the 
Unity. It had been one of the earliest settle 
ments of the brethren, and for a long time the 
dwelling-place of Brother Gregory, who had first 
organised the community. Here, too, Brother 
Gregory had died (in 1474), and had been buried, 
" like the prophets of the Old Testament, in a 
rock-grave near the bank of the Orlice that is 
to say, opposite the castle." 2 The owners of 

1 For Brother Gregory, see my "History of Bohemian 
Literature," pp. 203, 205, 207, etc. 
- Dr. Goll. 


Brandeis the lords of Postupic, and afterwards 
the lords of Zerotin had always been well dis 
posed towards the Bohemian brethren ; the 
Zerotins, indeed, belonged to the Unity. It 
was, therefore, natural that Brandeis should have 
been frequently chosen as meeting-place for the 
synods of the community of which it had become 
the centre. 

When Komensky arrived at Brandeis, about the 
end of the year 1622, he was overwhelmed with 
misery to a degree, that only his true Christian 
faith and his thorough reliance on the doctrine of 
his community enabled him to overcome. As 
already mentioned, all his worldly possessions 
including his beloved books and MSS. had 
perished. Perished also had all prospects of a 
successful career as a clergyman and pedagogue, 
at least in his beloved native country, for 
Komensky well knew that of all " acatholics," 1 
the members of the Unity would be the first to 
be expelled from Bohemia. During the lengthy 
and dangerous journey from Fulneck to Brandeis, 
undertaken at a time of pestilence and in the 
midst of the horrors of the Thirty Years War, 
Komensky lost his wife and one of his children ; 
the other died shortly after his arrival at Brandeis. 
It was not, therefore, as one influenced by tem 
porary irritation or disappointment, but as one 
who "bears the whole heaviness of the wronged 

1 This, up to comparatively recent times, was the official 
designation in Austria of all who did not belong to the 
Church of Rome. 


world s weight," that Komensky wrote the 
" Labyrinth." 

Believers in Taine s theory of " milieu " will 
certainly be strengthened in their belief if they 
visit Brandeis after reading the " Labyrinth." The 
little town nestles at the banks of the rapid, grey, 
dolorous Orlice. The narrow valley in which the 
town is situated is encircled, and, as it were, 
weighed down by never-ending pine-forests that 
rise abruptly in all directions, but particularly in 
that of the Klopota Hill, under which Komensky s 
hut stood. This spot, memorable as being the one 
where he conceived the "Labyrinth," is now marked 
by a small monument erected to him by his grate 
ful countrymen. Straight before him, separated 
only by the Orlice, stood the city of Brandeis, with 
its wide market-place, to which all the small 
streets converged. Immediately behind the town 
stood, as a " Castle of Fortune," the ancient castle 
of the Zerotins, then already a ruin. Situated on 
a steep and abrupt rock, it so entirely overlooks 
the town that the traveller can see directly beneath 
him the market-place "crowded with people as 
with insects." This is particularly the case during 
the summer months, for Brandeis has now become 
a fashionable summer resort of the citizens of 

It is, of course, as a mere conjecture that I 
venture to suggest that Komensky had the city of 
Brandeis and the neighbouring scenery in his 
mind when he wrote the "Labyrinth." Such con 
jectures have not, perhaps, great value, even when 


made by one who has been a constant wanderer 
in the district referred to. Similar attempts to 
connect great writings with the scenery that 
surrounded their author while he wrote them have 
often been made ; and it is certain that a man of 
genius such as Komensky undoubtedly was 
would be more strongly impressed and influenced 
by the scenery around him than an ordinary 

Meanwhile, Komensky s stay in his beloved 
Bohemia was drawing to an end. The condition of 
the brethren at Brandeis was at first a fairly 
tolerable one. The Austrian Government, grateful 
to Zerotin for his fidelity to the house of Habsburg, 
did not at first molest his protege s much. But the 
position of non-Catholics became more precarious 
in the Habsburg dominions every year. Every 
year the regulations against them became more 
severe. Komensky, like many of the brethren, lived 
in secrecy, and only occasionally returned to 
Brandeis. At last the brethren, among whom was 
Komensky, decided, at a secret meeting in the 
village of Doubravic, that they would altogether 
abandon Bohemia, and settle in Poland and Hungary. 
It was also agreed to that certain members of the 
community should precede the general emigration, 
and seek in these countries places of refuge where 
the brethren could continue to worship freely 
according to their doctrine. Komensky was chosen 
as one of these envoys, and now travelled ex 
tensively in Northern Germany and Poland. It 
was decided that Komensky and other brethren 


should seek refuge at Lesno or Lissa, 1 in Poland, 
under the protection of Count Lescynski, who was 
himself a member of their community. It was 
during these travels that Komensky first became 
acquainted with the so-called " prophecies " of 
Kotter and Eliza Ponatovska ; together with the 
later "prophecies" of Drabik, they had a great 
influence on Komensky in his later years. There 
is, however, little trace of their influence in the 
"Labyrinth," 2 so that it is unnecessary to refer to 
them here. 3 

In January, 1628, Komensky, accompanied by 
several other exiles, left Bohemia that he was 
never destined to revisit. When the exiles arrived 
at the Silesian frontier, " they all knelt down and 
prayed to God, with cries and many tears, entreat 
ing Him not finally to avert His mercy from their 
beloved country, nor to allow the seed of His word 
to perish within it." 4 

On the 8th of February, Komensky arrived at 
Lissa. He spent there a considerable number of 
years conscientiously fulfilling his duties, both as 
preacher and schoolmaster of the small Bohemian 
community that had settled there. It was at this 
time that he wrote many of his educational works 

1 In the present Prussian province of Posen. 

2 See, however, note 1, p. 303, chap, xlvii. 

3 The influence of these "prophets" on Komensky has 
<*reat, though very painful, psychological interest. I have 
referred to them in my " History of Bohemian Literature," 
as mentioned in the note to chapter xlvii. referred to 
above. There is a fuller account of Kotter s "prophecies" 
in my " Bohemia : an Historical Sketch," pp. 396-398. 

<Zoubek, "Zivot Komenske ho." 


that, to a certain extent, preserved his fame, even 
when he was least known. Thus a large part of 
the " Didactica Magna " was written at Lissa. 
Here, also, Komensky began his pansophic studies 
at this time, and his first philosophical (or pan 
sophic) book appeared in 1632. Though written 
during the troublous times of the Thirty Years 
War, Komensky s pansophic studies attracted great 
attention. Indeed, the horrors of that war may 
have inclined the minds of men to that mysticism 
that promised them a delightful future, contrasting 
with the wretched present. It is always in times 
of great misery that mystic, particularly chiliastic, 
ideas, such as Komensky professed in the last 
years of his life, appeal most to the minds of men. 

The interest in Komensky s pansophic studies 
was not limited to Poland, Bohemia, and Germany. 
His fame spread also to far more distant countries 
particularly to England, that did not interfere in 
the thirty years struggle on the Continent, but 
that was then on the verge of civil war. Samuel 
Hartlib, well known as a friend of Milton, was 
greatly interested in the studies of the Bohemian 
pansophist. A correspondence began between 
Hartlib and Komensky, to whom Hartlib offered 
financial aid to enable him to visit England. After 
some hesitation, Komensky accepted this offer. His 
temporary hope of returning to Bohemia founded 
on the brilliant victories of Gustavus Adolphus 
had proved vain. Count Lescynski, his old patron, 
had died, and shortly afterwards his son had, for 
political reasons, adopted the creed of Rome. 


Other causes contributed to render Komensky less 
desirous of remaining at Lissa. He had not, in his 
later writings, always shown that generous, large- 
minded, truly Christian tolerance that is so con 
spicuous in the " Labyrinth," and was already 
becoming involved in those theological controversies 
that afterwards embittered his last years. Discord 
appears to have arisen between him and other 
clergymen of the community of Lissa, though the 
fact that he was chosen as the head of that com 
munity seven years later proves that he had by no 
means lost its sympathy. 

In the summer of 1641, Komensky left Lissa on 
his way to England. He arrived in London on 
September 21, after a very perilous sea voyage, 
of which he has left us a description in the 
" Labyrinth." * I have elsewhere referred to 
Komensky s stay in London, and to the very 
interesting letter dealing mainly with English 
affairs that he sent to his friends on the Continent. 
He seems to have been acquainted with many men 
of importance in England. Besides Hartlib, on 
whose invitation he had come there, Theodore 
Haak, John Durie, John Beale, Evelyn were 
among those whom Komensky met in London. It 
is less certain that he made the personal acquaint 
ance of Milton and of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. 2 

1 This, of course, does not appear in the first edition of the 
" Labyrinth." It is tirst printed in the edition of the book 
published at Amsterdam in 1663. 

2 That Komensky corresponded with Lord Herbert is 
proved by his correspondence, recently published by Mr. 
Patera. It contains a letter dated J une 15, 1647, addressed 


It is not my intention to refer here in more detail 
to the Bohemian philosopher s stay in London, 
where he and his friends wished to found a 
pansophic academy. Public events in England 
rendered such an undertaking an impossibility. 

Komensky therefore decided to leave London, 
and started, in June, 1642, only a few weeks before 
civil war broke out in England. Through Holland 
and Germany, he proceeded to Sweden. He had 
been invited to that country by the Chancellor 
Oxenstierna, who had heard of his fame as an 
educator from Louis de Geer, a rich Dutch 
merchant, who had business connection with 
Sweden. Oxenstierna wished Komensky to under 
take the task of writing a series of school-books 
for use in the Swedish schools. Komensky con 
sented to do so, but refused to take up his residence 
in Sweden. He settled for some time (1642-1648) 
at Elbing, a small now Prussian town on the 
Baltic, not very distant from the Swedish coast. 
Conscientious as he always was, he worked hard 
there at the school-books he had undertaken to 
write, while he also laboured hard at his pansophic 
works, encouraged by his English friends, who 
urged him not to devote all his time to " mere 

to the "Perillustri atque noblissimo Domino, Domino 
Edwardo Baroni Herbert de Cherbury, etc., etc. Domino et 
Fautori meo." Komensky here thanks Herbert for the gift 
of the volume, " De Causis Errorum" : " Tarn gratum quam 
flagranter desideratum munus," as he calls it. From the 
time of his visit to England, Komensky frequently mentions 
Lord Herbert s name when writing to his English friends. 


Komensky s stay at Elbing ended in 1648. In 
that year Justinus, bishop of the Unity, died at 
Lissa, and Komensky was chosen as his successor. 
He did not hesitate to accept that dignity, a heavy 
burden at a moment when the Treaty of Westphalia 
had destroyed the last hopes of the brethren, and 
the community seemed doomed to extinction. He 
started in the same year for Lissa, to assume the 
duties of his new office. 

But here also he did not now remain long. He 
was summoned to Transylvania by George Rakoczy, 
who was then ruler of that country, and of a consider 
able part of Hungary. Rakoczy, a Calvinist, was 
naturally anxious to obtain the services of one 
whose creed was very similar to his own, and who 
already was far famed as an educator. Komensky 
stayed some time at Potok, 1 where the princes of 
the house of Rakoczy often resided. In conse 
quence of the favour that he enjoyed with these 
princes, he was able to carry out his educational 
innovations here on a much larger scale than before. 
His labours at Potok have therefore great value for 
those interested in pedagogy, 2 but it is unnecessary 
to refer to them here. 

In 1654, Komensky returned for the last time to 
Lissa, but only for a brief period. He was destined 
soon to become a wanderer again. War broke out 
in 1655 between Poland and Sweden, and the 

1 A town in Northern Hungary. Its Hungarian name is 

2 There is an interesting account of Komensky s organisa 
tion of the Hungarian schools in Dr. Kvacsala s (German) 
" Johann Amos Comenius." 


Bohemian exiles, though they had been well treated 
by the Poles, sympathised largely with the Swedes, 
whose Protestantism was somewhat similar to their 
own. Komensky, far too great an enthusiast to be 
a cautious man, shared this feeling, and gave utter 
ance to it in his " Panegyricus Carolo Gustavo 
magno Suecorum regi." The Swedes were at first 
victorious, overran a large part of Poland, and 
captured the town of Lissa. In 1656, however, the 
Poles recaptured the town and completely destroyed 
it, partly, as Komensky s enemies alleged, because 
of his panegyric on the King of Sweden. Komensky s 
library and MSS. were for a second time destroyed. 
He, now already sixty-five years old, found himself 
again a homeless wanderer. After staying some 
time at Stettin, Hamburg, and other places, he at 
last found a refuge at Amsterdam. Lawrence de 
Geer, the son of his old patron, Louis de Geer, 
invited him to reside there. It was there that 
Komensky spent the last years of his troubled life. 
His chiliastic views, and his firm belief in so-called 
" prophets," involved him in much theological 
controversy, carried on with the discourtesy, 
and indeed brutality, customary among the 
theologians of his time. Many false or exag 
gerated accusations against Komensky, gathered 
from the controversial writings of his opponents, 
were afterwards repeated by Bayle in his " Diction- 
naire Historique et Critique," and Komensky was 
long principally judged according to Bayle s one 
sided account, The greater interest now shown in 
Komensky s educational work, and, on the other 


hand, the revival of Bohemian literature, which has 
made a book such as the " Labyrinth " better 
known, have caused the great Bohemian writer to 
be now judged more fairly. 

Komensky s last years were very melancholy ; 
his old friends and comrades, Gertych, Figulus (his 
son-in-law), and other clergymen of the Unity, 
died, and he became more and more solitary. He 
doubtlessly believed that the community to which 
he had devoted his whole life would perish from 
the earth. This was not, however, to be the case ; 
Komensky s grandson, Figulus, or Jablonsky, as he 
generally called himself, consecrated as a clergyman 
of the Unity Count Zinzendorf, the founder of the 
community of Herrenhut, that has continued to the 
present day, and which in its principal doctrines is 
identical with the old community, 1 occupied to the 
last with pansophic studies. Komensky died at 
Amsterdam on November 15, 1670. An exile even 
in death, he was buried on November 22 in the 
Church of the French Protestants at Naarden, near 

After what has necessarily been a very slight 
sketch of Komensky s career, I return to the 
" Labyrinth." Not to give too terrifying an aspect 
to the title-page of this book, I have given on it 

i The learned deacon of Herrenhut, Dr. J. Miiller, has 
dealt with the connection of his community with the old 
brethren in a series of very interesting studies, published 
in the Casopis Musea Kralovstoi (Journal of the Bohemian 
Museum) for 1885. He says that though there are minor 
differences, the teaching of his community is on all important 
points identical with that of the old Unity. 


only the first principal part of the name that 
Komensky chose for his work. It may, however, 
be interesting to give here the full name, which, 
according to the fashion of the day, is very lengthy. 
Komensky thus describes his book : " The Laby 
rinth of the World and the Paradise 1 of the 
Heart ; that is, a book that clearly shows that this 
world and all matters concerning it are nothing but 
confusion and giddiness, pain and toil, deceit and 
falsehood, misery and anxiety, and lastly, disgust 
of all things and despair ; but he who remains in 
his own dwelling within his heart, opening it to the 
Lord God alone, will obtain true and full peace of 
mind and joy." 

Following the example of all former editors of 
Komensky s masterpiece, I have made no external 
distinction between the " Labyrinth of the World " 
and the "Paradise of the Heart." Komensky 
himself made no such distinction, and here also the 
chapters are numbered continuously, as they are in 
the Amsterdam edition of 1663. It has often been 
stated that the " Paradise," which is much shorter 
than the " Labyrinth," is also inferior to it. It is 
certain that while a large, and perhaps the most 
interesting part of the "Labyrinth," describes the 
customs and manner of life of the six " estates " 
into which Komensky divides mankind, the lives of 
the same classes of men are described, but in a few 

.In the first edition, the word "Lusthauz," derived from 
the German, is used. In the Amsterdam edition, and all the 
subsequent ones, the correct Bohemian word " Raj " is 


words after they have become " true Christians," a 
term which, to Komensky, always meant a member 
of the Unity. Yet such criticism is founded on 
an inadequate conception of Komensky s purpose 
when he wrote the " Labyrinth." It was not his 
intention to extol earthly life, even that of the 
most God-fearing pietist, but to enlarge on the 
vileness of the world, and to contrast with it the 
perfect happiness of those who in heaven are united 
with God. 

Though Komensky s works, and the " Laby 
rinth " his masterpiece in particular, have been 
the object of much interest since the revival of 
Bohemian literature, yet a critical study of the 
"Labyrinth," dealing fully with all philological, 
historical, artistic, and other questions connected 
with it, is still a desideratum. It is not, therefore, 
yet quite certain what chapters of the " Labyrinth" 
formed part of the book as first written, and what 
are later editions, Dr. Flajshans, in his excellent 
" Pisemnictvi Ceske," (i.e. Bohemian Literature) 
suggests that chapters xxix. to xxxv. did not form 
part of the book as written at Brandeis, though 
they already appear in the first printed edition of 
1631. The description of a shipwreck in chapter 
viii., founded on Komensky s own experience, first 
appears in the Amsterdam edition of 1663. 

It may be of interest to refer to the various 
editions and translations of the " Labyrinth." 
They are by no means numerous, if we consider the 
value of the book. It must, however, be remem 
bered that the suppression of Komensky s creed in 


his country followed its appearance very closely, 
and that the Bohemian language in which it is 
written was, for a time, almost extinct. Though 
finished in 1623, the book, as already mentioned, was 
first printed in 1631. 1 A second enlarged edition 
appeared at Amsterdam in 1663. After this there 
was no new edition before 1757, 2 when the book was 
reprinted at Berlin. Further editions appeared at 
Prague in 1782 and 1809. The latter edition, 
though it had appeared with the consent of the 
" censure," 3 which then decided what books might 
be printed in Austria and Bohemia, was yet sup 
pressed in 1820, and the " Labyrinth," for a time, 
again became almost inaccessible to Komensky s 
countrymen. Since the accession of that enlight 
ened ruler, the present Emperor of Austria, Francis 
Joseph, these petty molestations have ceased. The 
" Labyrinth " has been frequently reprinted, and is 
now in the hands of all Bohemian readers, who 
have the same affection for the book that their 
ancestors had more than two centuries ago. In 
consequence of Komensky s great mastery of his 
language, parts of the " Labyrinth" are read in the 
Bohemian schools, in which the national language 
is now largely used. It is not necessary to 
enumerate the many editions of the " Labyrinth " 
that have appeared within the last years. The 

1 According to Mr. Bily, probably either at Lissa or at 
Pirna, in Saxony. 

2 There is a copy of this edition in the library of the British 

s See my "History of Bohemian Literature," passim, 
particularly pp. 366-369, and 397-398. 


best is that published in the present year by Mr. 
Bily. I have consulted it for those parts of the 
" Labyrinth " also that I had translated before the 
appearance of Mr. Bily s edition. It follows very 
closely the Amsterdam edition of 1663, and has 
some valuable notes, of which I have availed 
myself on several occasions. I must here also 
acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Kvacsala s 
" Johann Amos Comenius," Dr. Zoubek s " Zivot 
Komensk^ho," (i.e., " Life of Komensky"), Professor 
Kapras s " Nastin Filosophie Komenskeho, (i.e., 
" Outline of Komensky s Philosophy "), Dr. von 
Criegern s " Comenius als Theolog," and numerous 
studies in the Casopis Musea Ceskeho (i.e. t " Jour 
nal of the Bohemian Museum "). Of those essays, I 
should particularly mention those of Dr. Novak on 
the " Labyrinth of the World," that appeared in 
the Journal in 1895. It would be unnecessary 
to give a full list of the authorities consulted, as 
these books are almost all written in the Bohemian 
language that is practically unknown in England. 

The causes, already mentioned, that limited 
the number of editions of the " Labyrinth " also 
account for the fact that the book has not been 
more frequently translated into foreign languages. 
An abridged German translation was published at 
Potsdam in 1781, and another translation, or rather 
adaptation, appeared at Berlin in 1787 under the 
name of " Philosophisch Satirische Reisen durch 
alle Staride der menschlichen Handlungen." The 
latest German translation was published in 1871 or 
1872 ; the book has no date. This translation, 


published at Spremberg by Dr. Novotny, a Pro 
testant divine, has little or no value. The trans 
lator, who evidently had but a slight knowledge 
of the Bohemian language, has made some rather 
serious mistakes; he has also, with an audacity 
that would appear inconceivable on the part of 
one translating from a better known language 
than that of Bohemia, omitted considerable pas 
sages of the " Labyrinth," while he has inserted 
a good deal of matter that is not contained in 
Komensky s MS. There are also Hungarian and 
Russian translations of the " Labyrinth." 

In his preface to the "Labyrinth," Komensky 
tells his reader "that it is not a poem that you 
will read, although it may have the seeming of 
a poem." I have explained in a note what I 
believe to be Komensky s meaning. Yet the 
author may also have intended to point out to 
his readers that his book was written in a some 
what ornate manner, differing largely from the 
rather homely prose that was then usual in 
Bohemia. It is, I think, the first duty of a 
translator to render as closely and faithfully as 
he can the word and thought of the author whose 
writings he endeavours to transfer into a different 
language ; he should, therefore, adhere as closely 
as possible not only to the current of thought, but 
even to the manner of writing of his author. I 
have therefore not hesitated in using some words 
that at the present day are hardly used in English 
prose, and in employing some rather archaic locu 
tions. Such locutions would, of course, not have 


appeared so unusual to Komensky s contemporaries 
in England than they may to the readers of the 
present day. Komensky, particularly in the 
" Labyrinth," uses alliteration to a great extent. 
As far as the totally different character of the 
English and Bohemian languages permitted, I have 
endeavoured to follow him in this also. 

I must also, writing in a language that is not 
my own, beg my readers indulgence to such 
lapses from the now most usual methods of 
writing English that may be found in this 

It is scarcely necessary to mention that a God 
fearing and pious man, such as was Komensky, 
admitted nothing into his books that could appear 
otherwise than edifying, or at least morally un 
objectionable. Yet the custom of calling a spade a 
spade was very prevalent in the seventeenth cen 
tury ; and writers, with no evil intent, alluded to 
matters that it is not now customary to mention. 
I have therefore thought it advisable not to trans 
late one or two words of the " Labyrinth," nor 
one somewhat longer passage. I have marked 
such omissions by asterisks. On the other hand, 
a few expressions that may now be thought coarse, 
though they did not appear so in the seventeenth 
century, have been retained. The " Labyrinth " 
contains a certain number of Latin words. I have 
retained these, as they are not difficult to under 
stand, and are very characteristic of Komensky s 
manner of writing. On the other hand, I have 


translated into English his Latin dedication of 
his book to Charles of Zerotin. 

If this translation contributes, even to a slight 
degree, to making Komensky s masterpiece better 
known to English readers, I shall not think that 
the not inconsiderable labour that it involved has 
been in vain. 

ZAMPACH, December 10, 1900. 


To the Illustrious and truly noble Lord, LORD CHARLES, 
BARON OF ZEROTIN, the elder, Captain of the 
Land of Moravia.* 


I SHOULD not venture in this but too turbulent time, 
full of disquietude, to molest your Illustriousness, oh, most 
Illustrious Lord ! by this short letter, far less by the dedica 
tion of a book, were it not that the book is of those that aim 
at strengthening our minds and tranquillising them in God. 
I will explain how the matter stands. As in this my retreat 
and my painful inactivity, separated as I am from the cares 
of my vocation, I yet neither may be nor wish to be idle, I 
began within the last months to reflect on the vanity of the 
world (which I had various opportunities of beholding in 
divers places). Thus then was this work, 2 which I ofier to 
your Illustriousness, born under my hands. The first part 
depicts the follies and inanity of the world, showing how 
mainly and with great labour it busies itself with worthless 
things, and how all these things at last end wretchedly, either 
in laughter or in tears. The second part describes, partly as 
through a veil, partly and openly the true and firm felicity 

1 In Latin " Pro-Marchio." The representative of the 
sovereign, called in German " Landeshauptmann," in 
Bohemian "Zemsky hejtman," presided at the meetings of 
the Moravian Diet. Zerotin held this office for some 


3 Komensky writes "drama." 


of the sons of God ; for they are indeed happy who, turning 
their backs on the world and all worldly things, adhere, and 
indeed inhere, to God. I admit that what I offer here is but 
begun, not completed. I see, indeed, that the subject is 
very abundant, and so fit for sharpening the mind and re 
fining the style that it might, by the means of repeated new 
conceptions, be enlarged almost to infinitude. Yet such as 
the book is, I wish to collect its contents from my stray 
papers and to offer it to your Illustriousness, for what pur 
pose I dare not now clearly to say. But the sagacity of the 
mind of your Illustriousness will perceive it while reading 
the book, or will be able otherwise to explain it. This only 
will I intimate, that I did not consider it inappropriate to offer 
this work to one who, after having a thousand times ex 
perienced the storms and sorrows of the sea of the world, 
has found repose in the most tranquil harbour of his con 
science. Now it only remains to me to wish that your 
Illustriousness, safe from the world and Satan, should live 
gladly for Christ, and should joyfully and rightfully look for 
ward to the future life that follows this one (alas, but a 
wretched one !). Meanwhile, may the blessed spirit of God 
our eternal Redeemer rule us, cheer us, console us, strengthen 
us. Amen. 

Written under the hill of Klopota, on the Ides of 
December, 1623. 

Of your Illustriousness, 

The most Devoted Client, 



EVERY being, even an irrational one, tends to 
delighting in pleasant and useful things, and to 
desiring them. Therefore this is naturally parti 
cularly the case as regards man, in whom the innate 
reasoning power has developed that desire for the 
good and useful ; and, indeed, it not only develops 
it, but induces a man to find more pleasure in a 
thing the more good, useful, and pleasant it is, and 
the more heartily to strive for it. Therefore the 
question arose long ago among learned men, where 
and in what that summit of good (summum bonum) 
is to be found at which the wishes of man could 
stop ; that is to say, that point which a man having 
attained it in his mind could and should stop, 
having no longer anything further to wish for. 

2. If, then, we notice this fact, we shall find not 
only that philosophers gave, and give, careful con 
sideration to this question, and to the way in which 
it can be solved, but also generally that every man s 
mind endeavours to discover where and by what 
means he can obtain the greatest delight ; and we 
find that almost all men, fleeing outward from 
themselves, seek in the world and its things where 
with to calm and quiet their minds ; one by estates 
and riches, another by pleasure and sensuality, 



another by glory and honours ; another, again, by 
wisdom and learning, another by gay companion 
ships, and so forth ; generally all strive for out 
ward things. 

3. But that that cannot be found there, of that 
the wisest of men, Solomon, is witness ; he who also 
sought solace for his mind, and who, having 
traversed and viewed the whole world, at last said : 
" I hate this life ; because the work that is wrought 
under this sun is grievous unto me ; for all is vanity 
and vexation of spirit." 1 When he had searched 
afterwards for the true solace of the spirit, he 
declared that it consists in this : that man, renounc 
ing the world such as it is, should seek only our 
Lord God, fear Him, and heed His commandments. 
For this, he said, is the whole duty of man. 
Similarly, David found that that man is happiest 
who, dismissing the world from his eyes and his 
mind, trusts in the Lord God alone, considers Him 
his portion for ever, and dwells with Him in his 
heart. 2 

4. The mercy of God be praised that has opened 
my eyes also, so that I have learnt to recognise the 
manifold vanities of this world, and its miserable 
deceit that is hidden under its outer splendour ; 
and also (have I learnt) to seek elsewhere the peace 
and security of my mind. Wishing suitably to 
place all this before mine own eyes, and also to 
show it to others, I have imagined this pilgrimage 
or wandering through the world ; what monstrous 

1 Eccles. ii. 17. 
* Psalm vii. 3. 


things I have seen or met with, and where and how 
I at last discovered the solace which I had vainly 
sought in the world ; all this I have, as it were, 
depicted in this treatise. With how much wit, I 
heed not. May God only grant that my work be 
useful to myself and to my fellow-men ! 

5. It is not a poem, 1 reader, that you will read, 
although it may have the seeming of a poem. It 
contains true matter ; understanding me, you will 
easily recognise this; he, in particular, who has 
some knowledge of my life and its incidents. For 
I have mainly depicted the adventures that I have 
already encountered in the not numerous years of 
my life, though I have also described some in 
cidents that I have seen in others, and things con 
cerning them, of which information was given unto 
me. I have not, however, alluded to all the 
happenings that befell me, partly from bashfulness, 
partly because I did not know what instruction 
such a narrative would confer on others. 

6. My guides, and indeed those of everyone 
who gropes through this world, are two. Insolence 
of the mind, which inquires into everything, and 
inveterate custom with regard to all things, which 
gives the colour of truth to the deceits of the world. 
He who follows them prudently will, together with 
me, recognise the wretched turmoil of his race ; but 
if it appears otherwise to him, let him know that 

1 The " Labyrinth " is neither rhymed nor written in blank 
verse. Komensky uses the word " basen " (poem) rather in its 
original signification of creation or fiction, in distinction from 
an account of actual occurrences. 


the spectacles of the general deception oppress his 

7. As regards the happy ways of those hearts 
that are devoted to God, this is described rather 
" in idea," 1 and I do not wish to infer that all this 
befalls all those that are chosen. But God will 
have no lack of such chosen spirits, and every truly 
pious one will be bound to strive to reach the same 
degree of perfection. Farewell, dear Christian, and 
may the leader of light, the Holy Ghost, show thee 
better than I can both the vanity of the world and 
the glory, happiness, and pleasure of the chosen 
hearts that are united with God. 

i I.e., from my imagination. 




WHEN I had attained that age at which the 
difference between good and bad begins to appear 
to the human understanding, I saw how different 
are the ranks, conditions, occupations of men, the 
works and endeavours at which they toil ; and it 
seemed most necessary to me to consider what 
group of men I should join, and with what matters 
I should occupy my life. 

(The Fickleness of the Mind.) 

2. Thinking much and often on this matter, and 
weighing it diligently in my mind, I came to the 
decision that that fashion of life which contained 
least of cares and violence, and most comfort, 
peace, and cheerfulness pleased me most. 

3. But then, again, it seemed to me difficult to know 



which and what was my vocation, and I knew not 
of whom to seek counsel ; nor did I greatly wish to 
consult anyone on this matter, thinking that each 
one would praise to me his own walk in life. 
Neither did I dare to grasp anything hastily, for I 
feared that I might not choose aright. 

4. Yet, I confess, I secretly began to grasp first 
at one thing, then another, then a third, but each 
one I speedily abandoned, for I remarked (as it 
seemed to me) something of hardship and vanity 
in each. Meanwhile, I feared that my fickleness 
would bring me to shame. And I knew not what 
to do. 

5. Thus yearning and turning the matter in 
solitude in my mind, I came to this decision that I 
should first behold all earthly things that are under 
the sun, and then only, having wisely compared 
one thing with another, choose a course of 
life, and obtain in some fashion the things 
necessary for leading a quiet life in the world. 
The more I thought the matter over, the more this 
matter pleased me. 



AND then I came out of my solitude and began 
to look around, thinking how and whence to 
begin my voyage. At that very instant there 
appeared one coming, I knew not whence. His 
gait was active, his sight skilful, his speech quick, 
so that it seemed to me that his feet, his eyes, his 
tongue, all possessed great agility. He stepped up 
to me, and asked whence I came and whither I 
proposed to go ? I said that I had left my home, 
and decided to wander through the world and 
obtain some experience. 

(The World a Labyrinth.) 

2. This pleased him well, and he said, " But 
where hast thou a guide ? " I answered, " I have 
none. I trust to God and to my eyes, that they will 
not lead me astray." " Thou wilt not succeed," 
said he. " Hast thou heard of the labyrinth of 
Crete ? " " I have heard somewhat," I answered. 
He then replied, " It was a wonder of the world, a 
building consisting of so many chambers, closets, 

and corridors, that he who entered it without a 



guide walked and blundered through it in every 
direction, and never found the way out. But this 
was nothing compared to the way in which the 
labyrinth of this world is fashioned, particularly in 
these times. I do not, believe me, counsel a prudent 
man to enter it alone." 

(Description of One who was insolent?) 

3. " But where, then, shall I seek such a guide ? " 
I asked. He answered : " I am able to guide those 
who wish to see and learn somewhat, and to show 
them where everything is ; therefore, indeed, did I 
come to meet thee." Wondering, I said : " Who art 
thou, my friend ? " He answered : " My name is 
Searchall, and I have the by-name of Impudence. 
I wander through the whole world, peep into all 
corners, inquire about the words and deeds of all 
men, see everything that is visible, spy out and 
discover everything that is secret ; generally, 
nothing can befall without me. It is my duty to 
survey everything ; and if thou comest with me, I 
shall lead thee to many secret places, whereto thou 
wouldst never have found thy way." 

4. Hearing such speech, I begin to rejoice in my 
mind at having found such a guide, and beg him 
not to shun the labour of conducting me through 
the world. He answered : "As I have gladly 
served others in this matter, so will I gladly aid 
you also." And seizing my hand, " Let us go," he 
said, and we went ; and I said : " Well, now will I 
gladly see what the ways of the world are, and 


also whether it contains that on which a man may 
safely rely." Hearing this, my companion stopped 
and said : " Friend, if thou art starting on this 
voyage with the purpose, not of seeing our things 
with pleasure, but of passing judgment on them 
according to thine own understanding, I do not 
know if Her Majesty our Queen will be pleased 
with this." 

( Vanity, the Queen of the World.) 

5. " And who, then, is your Queen ? " I said. He 
answered : " She who directs the whole world and 
its ways from the beginning. She is called 
Wisdom, though some wiseacres call her Vanity. I 
therefore warn thee in time, when we shall go 
there and look round, do not cavil ; then wouldst 
thou draw some evil upon thyself, even though I 
be close to thee." 



THUS, whilst he talks with me, behold someone 
steals up to us, a man or a woman (for he was 
wondrously muffled up, and something that seemed 
like mist surrounded him). " Impudence," he said, 
" whither dost thou hurry with this man ? " "I 
am leading him into the world," he replied. " He 
wishes to behold it." 

2. " And why without me ? " the other again 
said. " Thou knowest that it is thy duty to con 
duct the pilgrims, mine to show them where things 
are. For it is not the wish of Her Majesty 
the Queen that anyone who enters her kingdom 
should himself interpret what he hears and sees 
according to his pleasure, or cavil too much. 
Rather doth she wish that all things that exist and 
their purposes be told him, and that he should 
content himself with that." 

Impudence answered : " As if anyone could be 
so insolent as not to remain with the others ; but 
this one, rneseems, will require a bit." " It is well ; 
let us go forward." Then he joined us, and we 
went on. 



( The Ways of Falsehood in the World.} 

3. I, however, thought in my mind : " Would God 
that I had not been led here ! These are deliberat 
ing about some bit for my mouth." And I say to 
this, my new companion : " Friend, take it not 
amiss ; gladly would I know thy name also." He 
answered : " I am the interpreter of Wisdom, the 
queen of the world, and I have the duty to teach 
all how they can understand the things of the 
world. Therefore I place in the minds of all, old 
and young, noble and of mean birth, ignorant and 
learned, all that belongs to true, worldly wisdom, 
and I lead them to joy and merriment, for without 
me even kings, princes, and the proudest men 
would be in strange anxiety, and would spend their 
time on earth mournfully." 

4. On this I said : " Fortunately has God granted 
me thee as a guide, dear friend, if this is true. 
For I have set out for the world for the purpose 
of seeking what is safest and most gratifying in it, 
and then relying on it. Having now in thee so 
trusty a councillor, I shall easily be able to choose 
well." " Do not doubt this," he said, " for though 
in our kingdom thou wilt find everything most 
finely ordered and most gay, yet is it ever true 
that some professions and trades have more con 
venience and freedom than others. Thou wilt be 
able to choose from everything that which thou 
wishest. I will explain to thee everything as it 
is." I said : " By what name do men call thee ? " 
He answered : " My name is Falsehood." 



HEARING this, I was terrified, and thought within 
myself : " Alas, for my sins have I obtained such 
companions ! That first one (thus my mind de 
vised) spoke of some sort of bridle ; the other one 
is called Falsehood. His queen he calls Vanity 
(though I think he imprudently blabbed this out) ; 
but what is this ? " 

2. And whilst I thus continue silently and with 
downcast eyes, and my feet move on somewhat 
reluctantly, Searchall says: "What, thou fickle 
one ; methinks thou wishest to go back ! " And 
before I could answer he threw a bridle over my 
neck, and suddenly a bit slipped into my mouth. 
" Now wilt thou," he said, " go obediently to the 
spot for which thou hast started ? " 

(The Bridle of Vanity^ 

3. And I look at this bridle, and behold it was 
stitched together out of straps of pertness, and the 
bit was made out of the iron of obstinacy ; and I 
understood that I should now no longer behold the 
world freely as before, but that I should be drawn 



on forcibly by the inconstancy and disconsolateness 
of my mind. 

( The Spectacles of Falsehood.} 

4. Then my companion on the other side said : 
" And I give thee these spectacles, through which 
thou wilt henceforth look on the world," and he 
thrust on my nose spectacles, through which I 
immediately see everything differently than before. 
They certainly had this power (as I afterwards 
often experienced), that to him who saw through 
them distant things appeared near, near things 
distant ; small things large, and large things 
small ; ugly things beautiful, and beautiful things 
ugly ; the white black, and the black white, and 
so forth. And I well understood that he should 
be called Falsehood who knew how to fashion 
such spectacles and place them on men. 

(The Spectacles are made of Illusion and Custom?) 

5. Now these spectacles, as I afterwards under 
stood, were fashioned out of the glass of Illusion, 
and the rims which they were set in were of that 
horn which is named Custom. 

6. But, fortunately for me, he had put them on 
me somewhat crookedly, so that they did not press 
closely on my eyes, and by raising my head and 
gazing upward I was still able clearly to see things 
in their natural way. I rejoiced over this, and 
said within myself : " Though you have closed my 


mouth and covered my eyes, yet I trust in my 
God that you will not take from me my mind and 
my reason. I will go on, and I wonder what then 
this world is which the Lady Vanity wishes us to 
see, but not to see with our own eyes." 



( There is Nothing beyond the World.) 

WHILE I am thus reflecting, behold, we find our 
selves (I know not how) on a very high tower, and 
it seemed to me that I was immediately under the 
clouds. Gazing down from here, I see on the earth 
a town seemingly fine and beautiful, and very 
broad, but I could in every direction perceive its 
boundaries and limits. And it was built in the 
shape of a circle, and provided with walls and 
ramparts; and instead of a ditch there was a 
dark, deep valley, which, as it seemed to me, 
had neither banks nor bottom. For only above 
the city was there light; everywhere around it 
there was sheer darkness. 

(The Situation of the World.) 

2. Now I saw that the city itself was divided 
into countless streets, squares, houses, bigger and 
smaller buildings; and it was crowded with 
people as if with insects. To the east I saw a 
kind of gateway, from which a narrow street 
led to another gate that looked westward. From 



the second gate only one entered into the various 
streets of the city. I counted six principal streets 
all running from east to west side by side, and in 
the centre of them there was a large, round square 
or market-place ; behind it there stood to the west, 
on a rocky, abrupt hillock, a high and splendid 
castle, at which almost all the inhabitants of the 
town gazed. 

(The Gate of Entrance and the Gate of Separation?} 

3. And my guide, Impudence, said to me : " Here, 
pilgrim, thou hast this dear world which thou wast 
so desirous to behold. I have, therefore, first led 
thee to this height that thou mayest gaze on the 
whole world, and understand its order. That 
eastern gate is the gate of life, through which all 
pass who come to live in the world. That second 
gate is the gate of separation, whence each person, 
according to the lot he draws, betakes himself to 
this or that calling. 

(The Conditions of Life are divided into Six Orders?) 

4. " The streets, then, which thou beholdest are 
the various estates, orders, and avocations which 
men choose. Thou seest six principal streets. In 
this one to the south those who belong to the state 
of domestic life reside parents, children, and ser 
vants. In the next street live the tradesmen and 
all who are busied in commerce. In that third 
street, which is nearest the market-place, live the 


learned men, who are employed on the works of the 
mind. On the other side, again, is the order of the 
clergy, by means of whom others avoid practising 
religion. Behind them is the order of the magis 
trates and rulers of the world. At last, to the 
north, we find the order of knighthood, which is 
employed in all the arts of war. And oh, how 
noble this is! These beget all; these feed all; 
these teach all ; these pray for all ; these judge 
all and preserve them from disorders ; these fight 
for all ; and all these serve each other, and all have 
equal rights. 

(The Castle of Fortune. The Market-place and the 
Castle of the World.) 

5. " Then that castle to the west is Arx Fortune, 
the castle of Fortune, in which chosen people live, 
who there enjoy riches, pleasure, and glory. The 
central market-place is for all ; for here men of all 
classes meet, and discuss what is necessary. In the 
middle of the market-place is, as it were, the centre 
of everything that is the residence of Wisdom, the 
queen of the world." 

(The Beginning of the Confusion?) 

6. And this good order pleased me, and I began 
to praise God that He had so nobly divided the 
estates of men. But what pleased me not was that 
I saw that these streets were broken through in 
many places, so that sometimes one ran into another, 


and this seemed to me a token that confusion and 
error might easily happen. Also when I looked at 
the roundness of the globe, I clearly saw that it 
moved and turned as in a circle, so that I feared 
lest I should become giddy. For when I cast my 
eyes here and there, I saw that in every direction 
everything swarmed with men. When I inclined 
my ears, everything was full of knocking, stamping, 
scrubbing, whispering, and screaming. 

(There was Deceit also.) 

7. And my interpreter, Falsehood, said: " Thou 
seest, dear friend, how delightful this world is, and 
how everything in it is noble ; and that, even when 
thou viewest it from afar. What, then, wilt thou 
say later when thou beholdest it clearly with its 
delight. And to whom would it not be pleasant to 
be in the world ? " I said, "Viewed from a distance, 
it pleases me ; I know not how it will be later." 
" Well, in every way," he said ; " only trust me, and 
we will go hence." 

(The Fashion of the Life of Childhood?) 

Impudence said : " Wait, I will also show him 
that spot to which we shall not come afterwards. 
Look, then, backwards towards sunrise ; dost thou 
not see that something crawleth through that dark 
gate and creepeth towards us ? " "I see it," I said. 
And he again : " These are people who whence they 
themselves know not have newly arrived in the 


world; neither do they as yet know that they 
are human beings ; therefore darkness is around 
them, and naught but moaning and crying. But 
while they go along this street, grey light and 
dawn slowly come to them, till they come to that 
gate beneath us. Let us go on and see what is 
doing there." 



(Fate, the Gate of Life.} 

AND we go downward by a dark winding 
staircase, and behold, before the door there was a 
wide hall full of young folk, and on the right side 
there sat a fierce-looking, old man, 1 who in his hand 
held a large copper urn, and I saw that all those 
who came through the gate of life stepped up to 
him, and each one put his hand into the urn and 
drew from it a tablet on which something was 
written. Then each one of them went down one 
of the streets, some running and shouting for joy, 
while others crept along slowly, looked around 
them, groaned and lamented. 

(The Callings are distributed^ 

2. And I step near and looked at the tablets 
of some of them, and I see that one had drawn the 

1 Ad eandem portam vir quidam senex astabat, aliquid 
quasi innuens virorum turbac nobis baud intelligentibus quid 
id esset. . . . Hie autem senex quern stantem videtis et 
habentem altera manu chartam ... is angelus est qui 
prsecepta dat ei qui tendit ad hunc mundum. . . . Et 
etiam ostendit viam quam si sucedat salvus in ea evadit." 
" Tabula Cebetis," Edition of Leyden, 1640. 



word : Rule ! another : Serve ! another : Com 
mand ! another : Obey ! another : Write ! an 
other : Plough ! yet another : Learn ! another : 
Dig ! another : Judge ! another : Fight ! and so 
forth. Impudence says to me: "Here vocations 
and work are distributed, and according to this 
distribution each one has to fulfil his task in the 
world. He, however, who apportions the lots is 
called Fate, and from him must everyone who 
enters the world receive his instructions." 

(The Pilgrim begs first to be allowed to behold 

3. Meanwhile, Falsehood nudged me at the other 
side, thus indicating that I also should stretch forth 
my hand. I begged not to be obliged to choose 
any one lot directly without first examining it, and 
entrust myself blindly to fortune. But I was told 
that without the knowledge and the permission of 
the lord regent, Fate, this could not be. Then 
stepping up to him, I modestly brought forward 
my request, saying that I had arrived with the 
intention of seeing everything for myself, and then 
only choosing what pleased me. 

(The Pilgrim receives the Permission.) 

He answered : " Oh, son, thou seest that others 
do not thus ; what is given or offered them 


they take. However, as thou desirest this, it is 
well." Then he wrote on a scrap of paper : " Specu- 
lare " (that is, " look around you," or "inquire"), gave 
it me, and left me. 



(He sees the Diversity of Men.) 

AND my guide says to me : " As thou hast to see 
everything, let us first go to the market-place." 
And he leads me forth. And behold I see countless 
multitudes as a mist. For there were there people 
from the whole world, of every language and 
nation, of every age, growth, sex, estate, class, and 
profession. When first gazing at them, I see how 
strangely they sway to and fro, like the swarming 
of bees, and, indeed, far more wondrous. 

(The Various Characters and Gestures of Men.) 

2. For some walked, some ran, some rode, some 
stood, some sat, some rose up, some again reclined, 
some turned in various directions ; some were alone, 
others in larger or smaller troops. Their dress and 
appearance varied much ; some were stark naked, 
and had wondrous gestures. When some met one 
another there was various juggling with hands, 
mouth, knees, and otherwise ; saluting and bowing, 



and other foolish ways. And my guide says to me : 
" Here hast thou that noble human race, that de 
lightful creation, which has been granted sense and 
immortality. How it bears on it the image of the 
infinite God, and the likeness to Him, that wilt 
thou recognise by the variety of His creations. As 
in a looking-glass wilt thou see the worth of this 
thy human race." 

(Hypocrisy in All.) 

3. I then look at them more carefully, and see 
directly that everyone in the crowd, when walking 
among the others, wore a mask on his face ; but on 
going away, when he was alone, or among his 
equals, he pulled it off, and when he had to go 
among the throng, he again fastened it on. And 
I ask what this means. The guide answered : 
" That, my dear son, is worldly prudence, so that 
each man may not show to all what he is. Alone 
in his home a man may be as he is, but before 
others it is beseeming that he appear affable, and 
that he assume a mien." Then the desire befell me 
more carefully to watch how these people might be 
without this dissembling covering. 

(Their Wondrous Deformities^} 

4. And looking attentively at this, I see that 
both in their face and in their bodies all are in 
various ways deformed. Almost all were pimpled, 
mangy, or leprous ; and besides, this one had a 


pig s lip, another teeth as a dog, another the horns 
of an ox, another donkey s ears, another eyes of a 
basilisk, another the brush of a fox, another the 
claws of a wolf. Some did I see with a peacock s 
neck stretched out on high ; others with the bristling 
crest of a lapwing ; others with horses hoofs, and 
so forth ; mostly, however, they had the similitude 
of apes. 1 And I am frightened, and say : " Nay, 
here, meseems, I see monsters ! " " What, f roward 
one " (the guide said), " thou speakest of monsters," 
and he threatened me with his fist. " Look but well 
through thy spectacles, and thou wilt see that they 
are men." But some of those who were passing 
heard that I had called them monsters, stood still 
and growled at me, and even threatened me, as if 
they would attack me. Then having understood that 
to reason here was vain, I became silent, and 
thought within myself : " If they will be human 
beings, let them be so ; but as for me, what I see, I 
see." I then feared that my guide would press 
down my spectacles more firmly and mislead me ; 
therefore did I decide to be silent, and rather quietly 
to behold these fine things of which I had seen the 
beginning. I then gaze again, and I see how art 
fully some handled these masks, quickly removing 
them and then again putting them on, so that they 
were able to give themselves a different mien, when 
ever they saw that this was to their advantage. 

1 Compare with this : " At bottom they are all respectable, 
pompous horse-faces, and self-opinionated donkey-muzzles, 
and lop-eared, low-browed dog-sculls, and fatted swine-snouts, 
and sometimes dull, brutal bull-fronts as well." Ibsen, 
" When we Dead awaken." 


And then I already began somewhat to understand 
the course of the world, but I was silent. 

(General Misunderstanding among all Men.) 

5. I also observe and hear that they talked 
among themselves in various languages, so that 
they mostly did not understand or answer each 
other, or they answered on something different 
from what had been said, each one differently. 
Wherever a large crowd gathered, almost all spoke, 
each one listening to himself and none to the others, 
although they plucked at one another to attract 
attention. But it happened not thus ; rather was 
there brawling and scuffling. And I exclaim : " In 
the name of God, are we then in Babel ? Here 
each one sings his own song. 1 Could there be 
greater confusion ? " 

( They occupy Themselves with Useless Matters?) 

6. Hardly anyone there was idle ; all were 
employed in some kind of work ; but these works 
and this I never should have believed were 
nothing but childish games, and at least were use 
less exertion. Some, indeed, collected sweepings 
and divided them amongst themselves ; some 
hurried here and there with timber and stones, or 
dragged them up with a windlass, and then again 
dropped them ; some dug up earth, and conveyed 
or carried it from place to place ; the others 

1 A proverbial expression in Bohemian. 


occupied themselves with little bells, looking- 
glasses, alembics, rattles, and other playthings ; 
others also played with their own shadow, measur 
ing, and pursuing it, and catching at it; and all this 
so vigorously that many groaned and sweated, and 
some, indeed, also injured themselves. And almost 
everywhere there were certain officers who ordered 
and measured out these labours with great hearti 
ness, and with no less heartiness the others obeyed 
them. Wondering, I said, "Alas! Oh, wherefore 
does man exist, if he employs the sharpness of his 
heavenly talents for such vain and evil endeavours ?" 
" Why vain ? " said the interpreter. " Cannot one 
then see here, as in a looking-glass, how men 
accomplish everything by means of their talents? 
One does this, another that." " But all," I said, 
" work at such useless things, which are not ade 
quate to their glorious eminence." " Do not cavil 
too much," he again said. " They are not yet in 
heaven, and in the world they must employ them 
selves with worldly matters. Thou wilt see in 
how orderly a fashion everything is done among 

{Fearful Disorder^) 

7. Then looking again, I see that nothing more 
disorderly could have been imagined ; for when 
one laboured at a thing, and exerted himself, 
another, approaching him, meddled with the matter; 
thence quarrels, scuffles, fights. Then they re 
conciled themselves, and after a while fought again. 


Sometimes several laid hold of one thing; then 
again they all left it, and ran off in different 
directions. Those, indeed, who were under the 
power of the officers and inspectors more or less 
kept to that which was appointed to them, for they 
were forced to do so. Yet here also I saw much 
confusion. Some broke away from their appointed 
places, and ran away ; others contradicted the 
overseers, being unwilling to do what was ordered 
them ; others attacked them with cudgels and 
robbed ; indeed, everything, was disorderly. But 
as all this had to be called order, I dared not say 

(Everything full of Scandal and Evil Example?} 

8. I also perceived other disorder, blindness, and 
folly. The whole of this market-place was as 
were also the streets afterwards full of holes, pits, 
and ravines, also of timber and stones, that lay 
about in every direction, and of other things. No 
one, however, put anything away, repaired it, or put 
it in proper order. On the contrary, they walked 
on unawares, so that first one, then another, knocked 
against something, fell, and either was killed or 
knocked down, and my heart quivered, beholding 
this. But among them, none took notice of this ; 
indeed, when anyone fell they laughed at him. 
Then seeing a stalk, or the trunk of a tree, or a 
hole over which some blindly blundered, I began 
to caution them, but nobody heeded. Some 
laughed at me, others reviled me, others wanted to 


beat me. Some fell and did not rise again ; others 
rose again, and then again fell head over heels on 
the top of one another. Of weals and bruises 
everyone had enough, but they nowise heeded 
them, so that I could not but wonder at this their 
dulness, which counted their own falls and wounds 
for so little ; while when one offended another, that 
one immediately rose in arms and warred with 

(The Fickleness and Unsteadiness of Mankind in 
all Matters.} 

9. I also perceived among men great delight in 
novelties and changes with regard to clothing, 
building, speech, gait, and other matters. Some, 
I saw, who did nothing but change their attire, 
wearing sometimes this, sometimes that manner of 
clothing ; others imagined a new fashion of build 
ing, and after a while destroyed it again. While 
working they seized now this thing, now that, and 
then again abandoned it, seemingly through in 
constancy. For if one died because of the burden 
under which he laboured or if he abandoned it, then 
immediately others were found who disputed it, 
squabbled and fought about it in a wondrous 
fashion. Among them all there was none who 
spoke, or did something, or erected an edifice, 
without the others laughing at it, misrepresenting 
it, destroying it. One fashioned a thing with vast 
labour and expense, finding in it great pleasure, 
then another, approaching him, overturned, de- 


stroyed, and injured it, so that I saw that never in 
the world a man made a thing without another 
injuring it. Some, indeed, did not wait for others ; 
they themselves destroyed their own works, so that 
I wondered at their fickleness and their vain 

( Their Pride and Presumption^) 

10. I also saw that many walked on high 
pattens ; others made themselves stilts (so that, 
raised above all, they could view everything from 
above), and thus did they strut about. But the 
higher one was the more easily was he upset, or 
others (from jealousy, I presume), tripped up his 
feet ; this happened to many, and they drew the 
laughter of all on them. Of such instances saw I 

(Death, which miserably destroy eth All.) 

11. At last I saw Death stalking about every 
where among them, and she was provided with a 
sharp scythe, and with a bow and arrows, and with 
a loud voice she exhorted all to remember that they 
were mortal ; but none listened to her call. Each 
one was none the less intent on his folly and his 
misdeeds. Then seizing these arrows, she threw 
them at the people in every direction, and struck 
down this or that one from among them, young or 
old, poor or rich, learned or unlearned, without 
distinction, so that they fell down. He who was 


struck down screamed, shrieked, and roared ; those 
who were walking near ran a little farther off, and 
soon again took no notice. Some coming near 
gazed at the wounded man, who was rattling in 
the throat, and when he contracted his feet and 
ceased breathing, they called each other together, 
sang round him, ate, drank, and shouted, 1 and 
some somewhat mocked at this. Then they seized 
the dead man and threw him over the boundaries 
into that gloomy pit which surrounds the world, 
and returning thence they again revelled ; but 
none escaped Death, though they diligently 
endeavoured not to heed her, even when she 
closely brushed against them. 

(Various Diseases.) 

12. I then saw that not all whom she (Death) 
struck fell dead to the ground ; some she merely 
wounded, lamed, blinded, deafened, or^ stunned. 
Some after their wound swelled out like a blister, 
others dried up as a splinter, others trembled like 
an aspen-leaf, and so forth. Thus did a larger 
number of men walk to and fro wounded, and with 
rotting and soured limbs, than there were healthy 

(Help against this is vainly sought.) 

13. And I saw many running to and fro who 
sold plasters, ointments, waters, as remedies for 

1 It is perhaps scarcely necessary to mention that 
Komensky here alludes sarcastically to the feasting at 
funerals that was particularly prevalent in his time. 


these wounds. And all bought these things from 
them, exulting thereon and defying Death. But 
she heeded not, and indeed struck down and over 
threw even these venders themselves. And it was 
a mournful spectacle for me to behold how pitiably, 
how suddenly, and by what manifold deaths a 
creature destined to immortality perisheth. I also 
found, in particular, that when one was most ready 
for life, gathered his friends together, made plans 
for his future life, built houses, scraped money 
together, and otherwise strove for his own welfare, 
then the arrow of Death struck him and made an 
end to everything, and he who had prepared for 
himself a dwelling in the world was very often 
torn away from it and his goods became useless ; 
then another succeeded him, and the same fate 
befell him, and so equally the third, the tenth, the 
hundredth. But when I saw that none would 
understand the uncertainty of life, and take it to 
heart indeed, that though standing close to the 
abyss of death they behaved as if they were 
certain of immortality (and it is marvellous that 
my heart did not burst from grief) then I desired 
to raise my voice to exhort and beg them to open 
their eyes, and to behold Death preparing her 
arrows, and in some fashion to strive to escape 
them. But I understood that as Death herself 
could, by her constant cries and her incessant 
appearance before them in her terrible shape, 
achieve nothing, my feeble speech would indeed 
be fruitless. I then said in a low voice : " It is for 
ever pitiful before God that we miserable mortals 


should for our misfortune be so blind." The 
interpreter answered me : " My good man, would 
it then be wisdom to torment ourselves by think 
ing of death ? Just because everyone knows he 
cannot escape her, it is better not to heed her, but 
to look at one s own goods, and to be of a cheerful 
mind. If she comes, she comes. In some hours 
everything will be at an end, and perhaps even in 
an instant. Why, therefore, should, because some 
die, the others cease to be merry ? For in the 
place of each one how many again are born." To 
this I said : " If wisdom consists in this, then I 
understand it amiss," and then I was silent. 

( Men are themselves the Causes of their Diseases and 

14. But I will not conceal this, that when I 
beheld the countless number of Death s arrows, it 
came into my mind : " Whence, then, does Death 
take that mass of arrows, that she never exhausts 
them ? " And I look, and behold quite clearly that 
she had no arrows at all, but only a bow ; the 
arrows she took from the people, each one from 
that person whom she intended to strike. And I 
observed that these people themselves trimmed 
and prepared these arrows, some even pertly and 
audaciously carried them to her, so that it was 
sufficient for her to take the arrows from them and 
to shoot them in the heart. And I cried : " Now 
I see that it is true : Et mortis faber est quilibet 
ipse suse. " I already see that no one dies who 


had not by his greediness, intemperance, froward- 
ness, lastly by his indiscretion, brought on himself 
abscesses, boils, outer or inner wounds (for these 
are the arrows of Death). But while I thus care 
fully gaze on Death, and the way she seized the 
people, Falsehood pulls me away and says : 
" Wherefore, foolish one, dost thou look rather at 
the dead than at the living ? When one dies, then 
it is over with him ; but strive thou to live ! " 



( The Preparation to this State is toilsome and 

AND they lead me forward, and bring me to a 
street where, they said, married people lived, and 
they said also that the fashion of this delightful 
life would be pleasing unto me. And behold, there 
was a gate which, as they said, was called Betroth- 
ment ; in front of it there was a wide square, 
in which crowds of people of both sexes walked 
about, and each one looked into the eyes of the 
other ; and not only this, but they also looked at 
one another s ears, nose, teeth, neck, tongue, hands, 
feet, and other limbs ; also did each measure the 
other how tall, how broad, how stout, or how 
slender he was. Then one approached another, 
and then again stepped apart from him, examin 
ing him now in front, now from the back, now 
from the right side, now from the left, and 
observing everything that he beheld of him. 
Each one particularly examined (and this I saw 
most frequently) the bags, purses, and pouches of 
the other, measuring and weighing how long, how 

broad, how full, how heavy, or how light they 



were. Sometimes several men pointed to one 
woman, and then none took her. One man drove 
another away, and they quarrelled, struggled, and 
fought; murders also did I here behold. Then 
one man pushed another away, and was himself 
again pushed away ; some, after driving others 
away, then ran away themselves. Yet another 
man, not lingering to examine, seized her who 
was nearest, and the couple lead each other hand- 
in-hand through the gate. Seeing much fooling 
of this fashion, I asked : " What, then, are these 
people doing ? " The interpreter answered : " They 
are those who would gladly enter the street of 
Matrimony ; but as no one is allowed to pass 
through yonder gate alone, but only in pairs, each 
one must choose himself a companion. Therefore 
is this choosing done here, and everyone seeks 
what is convenient to him ; he who finds it goes, 
as you see, to the gate with his companion." 
" And could not this choosing be done in a some 
what easier fashion ? " I said. " How mightily 
toilsome this is ! " He answered : " This is not 
labour, but pleasure. Dost thou not see how 
merrily they bear themselves ; how they laugh, 
how they exult. No fashion of life, believe me, 
is merrier than this one." Then I look, and see 
that some indeed laughed and exulted ; but I see 
others also who hang down their heads dolefully, 
turn round, drag each other backwards and for 
wards, then again retreat ; they grieve, do not 
sleep or eat, and even become mad. And I say : 
" What of these ? " He answered : " This also is 


pleasure." " Be it so," I said ; " let us proceed 
and see what befalls farther on." 

(Great Uncertainty as to how they should sit 
together .) 

2. Then forcing our way through the crowd, 
we arrive at the gate itself ; and lo ! before we 
entered it, we behold a balance suspended, which 
was provided with two baskets as scales, and 
round it stood the crowd. And they placed each 
of these couples in the baskets opposite one 
another, and watched whether the balance was 
even ; and in various fashions they descended, 
then separated, shook the scales, and then again 
steadied them. Then only when they had suffi 
ciently weighed them they allowed them to pass 
through the gate. But not all fared equally well. 
For some fell through the basket, were derided, 
and had to troop away with shame, and took 
themselves off; they even crammed a hood or 
sack over the ears of some, and made merry at 
their expense. And seeing this, I asked : " What, 
then, is done here ? " The answer was : " This is 
done that the betrothment may be safe ; for if the 
scales show that they are even and equal, they are, 
as you see, allowed to enter this state of matri 
mony ; if it is otherwise, they separate." " And 
what, then, do they here consider as equality ? " I 
said, " for indeed I see that the balance proves 
some to be equal in age, estate, and in every 
fashion, and yet they allow one of the two to 


fall through the basket. Others, on the other 
hand, who are most unequal they place together 
old men and young girls, young men and old 
women. One stands upright, and the other bends 
downward, and yet they say that they may be 
joined ; how is this ? " He answered : " Thou dost 
not see everything. It is true that some old man 
or old woman may not be worth a pound of tow, 1 
yet if they have either a fat pouch or a hat before 
which other hats are lowered, or something similar 
(for all these things are weighed in the scales), 
the matter does not stand as it appears to your 

( The Fashion in which they sit together is unalterable^} 

3. Entering after those whom they allowed to 
pass, I see at the gate men who seemed smiths; 
these clasp on each couple awful fetters, and only 
when fettered allow them to pass. Many people 
were present at this fettering who (as they said) 
were invited for the purpose of being witnesses. 
These played and sang before them, and bade them 
be of good cheer. But watching carefully, I 
remarked that they did not fasten up these fetters 
with a padlock as with other prisoners, but that 
they immediately forged, welded, soldered them 
together, so that, as long as their lives in this world 
lasted, they could not unbuckle them or tear them 
off. This frightened me, and I said : " Oh, most 
cruel captivity ! if anyone once enters it, for all 
1 A proverbial expression in Bohemia. 


eternity he has no hope of recovering his liberty." 
The interpreter answered : " Certainly this of all 
human bonds is the most rigid ; but the sweetness 
of this state is such that man gladly passes under 
the yoke ; thou wilt see for thyself what a delightful 
life it is." " Let us then go among them, that I 
may see," I said. 

( There is little Pleasure even when Marriage is most 

4. We then enter the street, and behold, there 
was a host of people all in couples, but many, as it 
seemed to me, most unequally joined, big ones with 
small ones, handsome ones with ugly ones, young 
ones with old ones, and so forth. And examining 
carefully what they were doing, and in what the 
sweetness of this state consisted, I see that they 
look at each other, speak to one another, and some 
times one caressed and also kissed the other. " Here 
you see," said the interpreter to me, " what a pure 
thing wedlock is, when it is successful." " Then 
this," said I, " is the summa of all ? " " Certainly," 
he said. And I again, " Then there is indeed but 
little pleasure ; and whether it is worth such fetters, 
I know not." 

( The Misery and Worry of all Married 
People generally?) 

5. I now look further about me among them, 
and witness how much toil and anxiety the 


wretched people had. They mostly had children 
around them, who were attached to them by 
bridles ; these screamed, squalled, stank, soiled 
themselves, groaned, and died, and I am silent as 
regards the pain, the tears, the dangers to the 
lives of their mothers, with which they entered 
into the world. If a child grew up there was 
twofold trouble with it ; one was to hold it back by 
means of the bridle, the other to drive it on by 
means of the spur ; and often the children, suffering 
neither bridle nor spur, made wondrous mis 
chievous endeavours, causing to their parents 
weariness and tears. But if they allowed them to 
act according to their will or tore themselves away 
from them, shame and death herethrough befell 
the parents. And marking this, I began to ad 
monish some of the people, both parents and 
children, warning the former against foolish 
love for their children and too great forbearance 
with them, whilst I admonished the latter to be 
somewhat more virtuous. But I achieved little 
beyond this, that they looked at me peevishly, 
threw jests at me, and some even menaced to kill 
me. And when I saw some who were sterile I 
declared them happy ; but they also complained 
and lamented that their life was joyless. Thus, 
then, did I understand that both to have and not 
to have offspring is misery. Also had almost each 
couple with them and around them stranger folk 
to serve them and theirs ; they often had to bestow 
more care on these than on themselves and their 
family, and besides had to suffer much discomfort 


through them. Also were there here, as in that 
market-place, many implements and stumbling- 
blocks, wood, stones, and pits ; when one stumbled, 
he tripped up the other also, fell and injured the 
other also ; the other, unable to leave him, had 
equally with him to whimper, cry, and suffer pain. 
Thus did I understand that everyone in this state, 
instead of one care, anxiety, danger, has to suifer 
as many cares, anxieties, dangers as there are 
people to whom he is tied. And this state pleased 
me not. 

(The awful Tragedy of luckless Marriage.} 

6. While I was then gazing at some of these in 
the crowd, I beheld a tragedy. Two were joined 
together who were assuredly not of one will ; one 
wanted to go this way, the other that ; then they 
quarrelled, disputed, wrangled. One complained 
to the passers-by of this, the other of that ; and 
then when there was nobody to arbitrate between 
them, they attacked one another, and cuffed and 
cudgelled each other in an ugly fashion. If some 
one reconciled them, after a while they quarrelled 
again. Some for a long time disputed in words 
whether they should go to the right or to the left, 
and as each obstinately insisted on what he wished, 
one with all his might flung himself in the 
direction he wished to go, and the other also in the 
opposite direction. Then there was a struggle and 
a mournful spectacle who would overcome the 
other ; sometimes the man triumphed and dragged 


the woman after him, although she caught at 
the ground, the grass, or whatever she could ; some 
times the man had to follow the woman, and the 
others laughed at this. But this seemed to me a 
matter worthy rather of pity than of laughter; 
particularly when I saw that during this torment 
some shed tears, groaned, wrung their hands heaven 
ward, declaring that they wished by means of gold 
and silver to redeem themselves from this bond. 
And I said to my interpreter : " Can no help, then, 
be granted them ? Can they not be untied and set 
free from one another, they who cannot be recon 
ciled ?" "That cannot be," he said ; "as long as they 
live they must continue thus." "Oh, this cruel 
bondage and slavery ! This is indeed worse than 
death !" And he again : "Why, then, did they not 
previously reflect more wisely? They deserve their 
fate ; let them continue in their dissensions." 

( Voluntary Slavery?) 

7. Then I gaze, and lo ! Death, with her arrows, 
strikes down some and overthrows them, and 
immediately the fetters of each of them were 
loosened. And I wished them joy of this, thinking 
that they also would wish themselves joy, and be 
heartily glad of this relief. But behold, almost 
every one of them began to cry and lament in a 
fashion that hardly ever I had heard in the world, 
wringing their hands and complaining of their mis 
fortunes. Of those whom I had before seen living 
peaceably together, I understood that one really 


grieved for the death of the other. I thought, 
however, that they only dissembled thus before the 
people. I vowed that they would repent their 
error, and teach others to beware of these bonds. 
But these, before I had time to observe, wiped their 
eyes again, ran outside, and returned afresh in new 
fetters. And I said with wrath : " Oh, ye monsters ! 
ye are unworthy of pity ; " and to my guide : " Let 
us from hence ; I find in this state more of vanity 
than anything else." 

( The Pilgrim also receives Fetters?) 

8. Meanwhile (for I must not be silent as regards 
my own adventures), while we are returning to the 
gate of separation, and though my intention is 
further to look on the world, my guides, both 
Impudence and Falsehood, begin strongly to urge 
me to try myself, also, the state of matrimony ; 
thus would I better understand it. I replied that 
I was young, that the examples I had seen terrified 
me, that I had not yet beheld everything in the 
world, and so forth. But this availed not ; they 
induced me to go on to the scales, as it were in 
sport, and then into bonds, and I proceeded as one 
of four who were joined together ; they also added 
to our party a number of others (they said it was 
that they should be my servants, and for the sake 
of modesty) ; so that, gasping and groaning, I could 
hardly drag them along with me. Then suddenly 
a tempest came down, with lightning, thunder, and 

a terrible fall of hail ; and all those around me 



dispersed, except those who were joined to me. 
With these I hurry into a corner, but Death, with 
her arrows, strikes down my three companions, so 
that, mournfully solitary and stunned by horror, 
I knew not what to do. My guides said that this 
was a favourable moment, and that I could now 
easily flee. And I said : " Why, then, did you 
advise me to come here ? " They answered that 
there was no time for disputing; rather should I 
flee. And thus did I hurry away. 

(The Pilgrim s Judgment on the State of Matrimony?) 

9. And having escaped thence, I yet do not know 
what I should say about this state, whether it affords 
more pleasure when it is successful (which I pre 
sume would have been the case with me), or more 
woe from various causes. That only I remember 
that both without it and within it there is much 
anxiety, and even when it is successful, the sweet 
is mixed with the bitter. 



( What he saw there Publicly. ) 

THEN walking on, we arrive in a street where trades 
were carried on ; this street was again divided into 
many smaller streets and squares, and everything 
was full of various halls, workshops, forges, working- 
rooms, shops, and booths, with various wondrous 
tools ; the people turned round them in a strange 
fashion, with much crashing, banging, piping, 
blowing, hulloaing, rattling, and scrubbing in various 
ways. I saw here that some scraped the earth and 
opened mines in it, either ripping it up on the sur 
face or digging deep into its interior like moles. 
Others paddled in the water, on rivers, or on the 
sea ; others stirred fires ; others gaped at the air ; 
others busied themselves with wild beasts ; others 
with stones and wood ; others conveyed various 
goods to and fro. And the interpreter said to me : 
" See what ingenious and pleasant work this is ; 
well, what here pleases thee most ? " I said, " It 
may be that there is here somewhat of merriment ; 
but with it I see much toiling,! hear much moaning." 
" Not all labour is so arduous," he said : " let us 



look more closely into these various matters." And 
they led me turn by turn through these places, and 
I viewed everything, and for the sake of experience 
sometimes touched this thing or that ; but I neither 
can nor will describe everything in this spot. Only 
what I saw openly that I will not conceal. 

(All Trades are Perilous Strivings!) 

Firstly, I saw that all these worldly traffics are 
but labour and vain striving, and that each has its 
discomfort and danger. I saw, indeed, that those 
who dealt with fire were sunburnt and sooty like 
Moors ; the clattering of hammers ever hummed in 
their ears and half hindered their hearing ; the 
gleam of the fires ever sparkled in their eyes, and 
their skins were blistered and cracked. Those 
who carried on their trade in the earth had dark 
ness and horror for companions, and not rarely did 
it happen that they were buried in the earth. 
Those who worked on the waters became as moist 
as a thatched roof ; like aspen leaves, they shivered 
from the cold, their bowels became raw, 1 and many 
of them became the prey of the deep. Those who 
busied themselves with wood, stones, and other 
materials were full of weals, groaning, and fatigue. 
I also saw how stupid were the labours of some, 
who yet toiled and strove till they sweated, became 
fatigued, fell down, injured themselves, overworked 
themselves ; yet, with all their miserable exertion, 
they barely succeeded in obtaining their daily 
1 I.e., their digestion became impaired. 


bread. It is true that I saw others who lived more 

easily and more advantageously ; but the less 

labour there was, the more was there of vice and 

(Incessant Striving?} 

Secondly, I saw that all the work of man is for 
his mouth ; for whatever a man acquired that he 
stuffed into his own mouth, or into those of the 
members of his family ; I must except the few who 
placed in their wallets that of which they deprived 
their mouth ; but these wallets, I again saw, were 
full of holes ; what was heaped into them streamed 
out again, and others gathered it up ; sometimes 
one approached and tore the wallet away ; or one 
stumbling against another plucked or tore away 
the wallet, or he lost it through some other mishap ; 
thus did I see clearly that all these worldly em 
ployments are but as the pouring out of overflowing 
water ; money is won and then again lost, with but 
this difference that it flees more easily than it 
approaches, whether it is absorbed by the mouth 
or by the money-chest. Therefore did I see more 
poor men than rich. 

(Hard Striving?} 

Thirdly, did I see that each of these labours 
required the entire strength of a man ; if one did 
but look backward or somewhat tarry, he immedi 
ately remained behind ; immediately everything 


dropped out of his hands, and before he was aware 
of it he was ruined. 

(Difficult Striving?) 

Fourthly, I beheld everywhere much hardship. 
Before a man was well prepared for his trade a 
good part of his life had passed, and even after 
wards, unless he was constantly attentive, all his 
concerns again went backward ; indeed, even among 
those who were the most attentive, as many, I 
found, met with loss than with gain. 

{Striving that kindles Jealousy?) 

Fifthly, did I behold among all (particularly 
among those of the same trade) much hatred and 
malice. If more work was carried to one, or more 
was brought forth from his shop, the neighbours 
immediately looked askance at him, gnashed their 
teeth at him, and, when able, spoilt his wares ; 
thence arose dissensions, discord, cursing ; and some, 
out of impatience, threw down their tools, and 
defying the others, gave themselves up to idle 
ness and voluntary poverty. 

( Sinful Striving. ) 

Sixthly, I beheld everywhere much deceit and 
fraud. Their work, particularly that done for 
others, was done hurriedly and carelessly ; yet, 


meanwhile, they extolled and praised their work 
as much as they could. 

( Vain and Unnecessary Striving?) 

Seventhly, I found there ] many unnecessary 
vanities, for I clearly understood that these occupa 
tions were mainly nothing but vanity and useless 
folly. For as the human body can certainly be 
sustained by little and very simple food and drink, 
as it can be clothed with few and very simple 
garments, and sheltered by a small and very 
simple building, therefore is it clear that but small 
and simple trouble and labour are required for 
these purposes, as was indeed the case in ancient 
times. This also I found here, that the world 
either will not or cannot judge rightly ; for men 
have become accustomed to employ so many and 
such rare things for the purpose of filling their 
bellies with food and drink, that to obtain these 
things a large portion of the people have to work 
by land and on the sea, and to imperil their 
strength and their life ; while others, again, have to 
be special masters in the art of preparing these 
things. Similarly, no small part of the people was 
employed in seeking various materials for cloth 
ing and building, and in giving them manifold 
monstrous shapes ; all this is useless and vain, 
and often even sinful. Likewise did I see 
craftsmen whose whole art and labour consisted 
in making childish trifles, or other toys, for the 
i I.e., among the order of the tradesmen. 


purpose of causing amusement and wasting time ; 
others, again, there were whose work it was to 
prepare and to multiply the instruments of cruelty 
against mankind, such as swords, daggers, battle 
clubs, muskets, and so forth. With what conscience 
and what pleasure of mind men could attend to all 
these trades, I do not know. But this I know, that 
if all that was useless, unnecessary, and sinful had 
been taken away and eliminated, the larger part of 
men s trade would have had to sink to the ground. 
Therefore for this, and for the other reasons men 
tioned before, my mind could find pleasure in 
nothing here. 

{Striving that beseemed Brutes rather than Men.) 

This was particularly the case when I saw that 
men worked only with the body and for the body, 
though man possessing a superior thing, namely, 
the soul, should bestow most care on it, and seek 
principally its advantage. 

9. One thing, meseems, I should specially relate, 
how I fared among the waggoners on land and 
among the sailors on the sea. When I was thus 
depressed while visiting the workshops of the 
handicraftsmen, Impudence said to Falsehood : " I 
see that this man is restless, and wishes to con 
stantly move like quicksilver; therefore is there 
no place that pleaseth him, and to which he would 
desire to be attached. Let us show him the freer 
profession of the trades who are at liberty to 
transport themselves from one place in the world 


to another, and fly about like birds." " I am not," 
I said, "contrary to seeing this also." Then we 
went on. 

(The Toilsome Life of Waggoners?} 

10. And then I immediately see a crowd of men 
who were turning round and round, and were 
gathering, collecting, and lifting up various things, 
even chips, morsels of earth and manure, and these 
they bound together in bundles. " What is this ? " 
I ask. They said that these were preparing to 
travel across the world. And I : " But why do they 
not voyage without these burdens? They would 
proceed more easily." The guides answered : " Thou 
art a fool. How could they journey otherwise ? 
These things are their wings." " Wings ? " say I. 
" Certainly wings ; for these give to them resolution 
and courage, and also ensure to them freer passage 
and safe course. Dost thou then think that men 
are allowed to rove vainly through the world ? In 
this fashion must men obtain their livelihood, 
favour, and everything else." I then gaze, and lo ! 
they heaped as many goods as they could find on 
a thing that seemed a pedestal with underlying 
wheels ; this they rolled and screwed, and harnessed 
cattle to it ; they then with all these goods toiled 
and plodded across hills, mountains, valleys and 
ravines, rejoicing in their minds over their merry 
life ; and such it appeared to me also just at first. 
But when I saw them sticking in the mire, soiling 
themselves, puddling in the mud, labouring and 


striving; also that from rain, snow, sleet, snow-drifts, 
cold, and heat they suffered much discomfort ; and 
when I also saw that everywhere on the mountain 
passes men lay in ambush for them and emptied 
their pouches (and to escape this, neither wrath, 
nor scuffling, nor raging availed), and that on the 
highroads a rapacious rabble attacked them, then I 
lost all pleasure in this order. 

( The Discomfort of a Sailors Life) 

11. They then said that there was a more con 
venient fashion of flying along the world ; that 
was by means of navigation; there, they said, a 
man did not tremble, and was not soiled or delayed 
by the mud, and he could fly from one end of the 
world to the other, finding everywhere something 
new, unseen and unheard of ; and they lead me to 
the boundary of the land, where we could see 
nothing before us but sky and water. 

(Description of a Skip.) 

12. Then they bade me enter a little hut constructed 
out of planks ; and this did not stand on the earth, 
neither had it a foundation, nor was it strengthened 
by any ceiling, beams, columns, or props; but it 
stood on the water and rocked to and fro, so that 
one had even to enter it with prudence. But as 
others went there I also went, not to appear timid, 
for they said that this was our carriage. But while 
I thought that we should proceed, or rather, as they 


said, immediately fly on, we remained where we 
were on the second, the third, the tenth day. 
" What, then, is this ? " quoth I. " Did you then not 
tell me that we should fly directly from one end of 
the earth to the other ? and now we cannot by any 
means leave this spot" They then said we should 
wait till the relays came, and that they had relays 
which required neither shelter nor stable, nor forage, 
nor spurs, nor whip ; they had only to put them to, 
and to drive on; I should but wait and I would 
see. Meanwhile, they show me cords, ropes, traces, 
scales, gambrels, shafts, axle-trees, waggon-beams, 
poles and various levers; and all these articles 
were fashioned in a manner different from that of 
the waggoners carts. It was a cart that lay back 
wards, and had at its back shafts (consisting of two 
very long pine-trees), which projected high up into 
the air ; from the top ropes descended to the sail- 
yards with various lattice-work and ladders. The 
axle-tree of the cart was at the back, and a man 
who sat there alone boasted that he could guide 
this huge mass in whatever direction he wished. 

(Description of Navigation^} 

13. Meanwhile the wind arose. Oar crew started 
up ; they begin to run to and fro, to jump, to scream, 
to shout ; one seized this thing, another that ; some 
climbed rapidly up and clown the ropes, let down 
poles, expanded what seemed to be rush mats, 1 and 

1 I.e., sails ; comp. More s " Utopia" : " The sayles were 
made of great rushes or of wickers." 


other such things. Then, " What is this ? " I said. 
They answered that they were putting to ; and lo ! I 
see that these rush mats swell out to the size of 
barns (they said these were our wings), and then 
everything above us begins to whizz, while under 
us the water is divided and splashes ; and before I 
could look, the coast, and the land, and everything 
vanishes from our sight. " Whither, then, have we 
gone?" I said. " What now will befall us?" They 
said that we were flying. " Well, then, in the name 
of God, let us fly," I said, and I marvel how rapidly 
we move on, not indeed without pleasure, but also 
not without fear ; for when I went above to look 
around me, giddiness overcame me ; when I crawled 
below, the terror of the waves that rushed violently 
against the planks of the ship encircled me. And 
then I thought in my mind whether it was not grave 
foolhardiness to entrust a man s life to such furious 
elements as water and wind, and thus purposely to 
encounter death, from which we are separated by 
the breadth of two fingers ; for no thicker is the 
plank which is between us and the terrible abyss. 
But having resolved not to allow my fear to be 
known, I was silent. 

{Disgust at Sea.} 

14. Then what seemed a crude form of stench 
begins to stun me, and penetrating my brain and 
all intestines, it prostrates me. Then I (as well as 
the others who were not used to these ways) roll 
about, scream, know no counsel ; everything flows 


from me and pours out of me, so that it appeared 
to me, not otherwise, as if we were being dissolved 
in the waters like snails in the sun. Then I begin 
to accuse myself and my guides, not believing it 
possible that I should remain living; but from 
them, instead of pity, I obtained but mockery. 
No doubt they knew from experience (what I 
knew not) that this trouble would not endure 
more than a few days ; and thus it was, and 
my strength gradually returned, and I understood 
that the furious sea had only welcomed me thus. 

(Calm on the Sea.) 

15. But what of this ? Worse things than these 
soon befell us. The wind left us, our wings became 
flabby ; we stopped, unable to go anywhere. I 
again begin to knit my brow, wondering what 
would happen. " We have been driven into these 
deserts of the sea. Oh, shall we ever leave them 
again ? Oh, shall we ever again see the lands of 
the living ? Oh, my mother, dear earth ! oh, dear 
earth, my mother, where art thou ? God, the 
Creator, gave the water to the fishes, but thee to 
us. Alas ! the fishes prudently remain in their 
dwelling-place, but we senselessly forsake ours. 
If Heaven cometh not to our help, we must cer 
tainly perish in this doleful abyss." Over these 
distressful thoughts my soul did not cease to 
grieve, till the sailors suddenly began to scream. 
Running out, I exclaimed : " What is this ? " 
They answered that the wind was rising ; and I 


look and see nothing. Yet they spread out the 
sails ; and the wind comes, seizes us, and carries 
us along. This gave great pleasure to all, but the 
pleasure soon became bitter. 

(Storm at Sea.) 

16. The wind meanwhile had increased so 
rapidly that not only we, but also the waves 
beneath us, were tossed about, so that terror 
entered our hearts. The sea rolled round us in 
every direction with such gigantic waves that our 
course was up high hills and down deep valleys, now 
upward, then downward. Sometimes we were shot 
upwards to such heights that it seemed as if we 
were to reach the moon ; then again we descended 
as into an abyss. Now it appeared as if a wave, 
coming either straight or sideways towards us, 
would surprise us, and immediately drown us ; but 
it merely lifted us on high, only that this our 
barque was thrown about here and there, and 
tossed on from one wave to another ; sometimes 
it declined to this side, sometimes to that ; some 
times with its prow it went perpendicularly 
upward, sometimes downward. Therefore, not 
only was the water spirted skyward on us and 
above us, but we could neither stand nor lie ; we 
were tossed from side to side, and found ourselves 
sometimes on our feet, sometimes on our head. 
This caused giddiness and the subversion of every 
thing within us. 1 And as this continued both by 
1 I.e., sea-sickness. 


day and by night, everyone can conceive what 
anguish and fear we felt. Then I said to my 
self : " Surely these seafaring men must be more 
pious than all other men in the world, they who 
never for an hour are sure of their lives ? " But 
looking at them, I observed that they were all, 
without exception, eating gluttonously as in a 
tavern drinking, playing, laughing, talking in 
an obscene manner ; in fact, committing every 
sort of evil deed and licentiousness. Grieving at 
this, I begin to admonish them, and to beg them 
to remember where we were, and ceasing such 
things, to call unto God. But what avails it ? Some 
laughed ; others scoffed at me ; others struck 
out at me ; others wanted to throw me over 
board. My guide Falsehood told me to be silent, 
and to remember that I was in a strange house, 
where it is best to be deaf and blind. "Oh, it 
is impossible," quoth I, "that this matter should 
end well when they have such customs ! " Then 
they again laughed. Seeing such mischievousness, I 
was obliged to be silent, for I feared to receive a 
whipping from them. 

(The Ship is submerged?) 

17. At this moment the storm became stronger, 
and a terrible gale burst on us. Then, indeed, the 
sea, with its waves, begins to rise heavenward ; then 
the waves pass us on from one to another as if we 
were balls ; then the depths open up, and some 
times threaten to devour us, sometimes again toss 


us downward ; then the wind, encircling us, drives 
us hither and thither, so that everything crashed as 
if the ship was going to be shattered into a hundred 
thousand pieces. Then I became as one dead, and 
saw nothing before me but destruction. But the 
sailors, who could no longer resist the violence of 
the storm, and feared to be driven on to rocks 
or shallows, pulled down the wings, and by means 
of thick ropes threw out large iron hooks, hoping 
thus to remain on the same spot till the storm 
should have ceased. But in vain ! Some of the 
men who climbed along the ropes were shaken off 
them by the wind as if they had been caterpillars, 
and thrown into the sea ; also through the force of 
the waves the anchors were broken off and sank 
into the depths. And then at last our ship, and we 
with it, began to drift about helplessly like a chip 
of wood in a stream. Then only did those iron, 
wilful giants lose heart ; they became pale, 
trembled, knew not what to do ; then only re 
membered God, exhorted us to pray, and they 
also wrung their hands. Then our ship begins to 
sink down to the bottom of the sea, to strike 
against rocks concealed under the water, and thus 
to sink and break up ; then through fissures water 
flows towards us ; and though all, young and old, 
were ordered to pour out the water with all their 
might, this availed them not ; it pressed powerfully 
against us, and drew us to it. Then there were 
tears, screams, moaning without measure. No one 
saw anything before him but a cruel death. But 
as life is sweet, everyone seized what he could 


tables, planks, poles, hoping that they could save 
themselves from drowning and swim forth to some 

And when at last the ship broke up and every 
thing was submerged, then I also, seizing what I 
could, arrived at some coast, with a few others. 
The terrible abyss had devoured all the others. 
When I had somewhat recovered from my fear and 
horror, I begin to rebuke my guides that they had 
led me here. They said that this would not harm 
me ; now that we had escaped, I should be of a 
cheerful mind. A cheerful mind, indeed ! To the 
day of my death I shall not allow myself to be led 
into anything of this sort. 

18. Then looking round, I see that those who 
had been saved with me again ran to the shore and 
entered a ship. " Go, then, to encounter all misfor 
tunes, ye foolhardy men," I said. " I cannot even 
look at this." My interpreter said: " Not everyone 
is so effeminate. Possessions and merchandise, my 
good fellow, are a fine thing. To obtain these, a 
man must ever risk his life." Then I said : " Am I, 
then, a beast, that I should risk my life merely for 
the sake of my body, and for the purpose of 
collecting things for it ? Verily, indeed, even the 
beasts do not this, and man, possessing within him 
a superior thing, namely, the soul, should seek 
rather its advantage and pleasure." 



AND my guide said unto me, " I already now 
understand thy mind, and which way it tendeth. 
Go, then, among the learned men go among the 
learned. Their life hath a charm for thee ; it is 
easier, quieter, and more useful to thy mind." 
" Yes, that is true," said the interpreter ; " for what 
could be more delightful than that a man should, 
abandoning and no longer heeding the struggles of 
this material life, employ himself in studying these 
manifold beautiful things ? Verily, it is this that 
makes mortal men like unto the immortal God, and 
almost equal to Him ; thus do they become almost 
omniscient, exploring everything that is in heaven, or 
earth, or the depths, or was or will be. And thus do 
they know everything, although not everyone, it is 
true, receives these gifts in equal perfection." "Lead 
me then there," I said. " Why dost thou tarry ? " 

(A Rigid Examination at first.) 

2. And we arrived at a gate which they named 
" Disciplina," and this was long, narrow, and dark. 


It was full of armed guards, to whom everyone who 
entered the street of the learned men had to render 
account; also had he to ask of them a safe conduct. 
And I saw what crowds of people, mostly young 
ones, came up, and immediately underwent divers 
severe examinations. Each one was first examined 
as to what pouch, what posteriors, what head, what 
brain (of this they judged by the secretions from 
the nostrils *) and what skin he had. If, then, the 
head was of steel, the brain in it of quicksilver, 
the posteriors leaden, the skin iron, and the pouch 
golden, then these men were praised, and incontin 
ently gladly conducted farther. But if one did not 
possess these five things, they either ordered him 
to retire or, though foreboding evil, they admitted 
him at random. And wondering at this, I said : 
" Why, then, do they lay such stress on these 
five metals that they search for them so industri 
ously ? " " They have great value indeed," quoth 
the interpreter. " If one has not a head of steel it 
will burst ; if he has not within it a brain of liquid 
quicksilver, he will not obtain in it a looking-glass ; 2 
if he has not a skin of tin he will not be able to 
endure the toil of education ; if he has not leaden 
posteriors he will not be able to endure the seden 
tary life of the student, and will indeed lose 
everything ; and without a golden pouch whence 
could a man obtain leisure, whence masters living 
and dead ? Or dost thou think those things can be 

i According to the ideas of Komensky s time, these were 
believed to be secretions of the brain. 

Komensky thus allegorically describes the imagination. 


procured without cost ? " And I understood the 
drift of his words, namely, that for the state of the 
learned, health, talent, consistency, patience, and 
gold are necessary. Then I said : " Truly can it be 
spoken, Non cuivis con tingit adire Corinthum 
(Not all wood becomes strong). 1 

(The Entrance to Stiidy is difficult and painful. 
Memoria A rtificialis. ) 

3. And we pass on through the gate, and I see 
that each one of these guards sets tasks to one or 
more of these men, and directed them. Now he 
whispers something into their ears, wipes their 
eyes, cleanses their noses and nostrils, pulls out 
and clips their tongues, folds together and then 
disjoins their hands and fingers ; and I know not 
what else he did not. Some also endeavoured to 
pierce into their heads and to pour something into 
them. Then my interpreter, seeing me afraid, 
said : " Wonder not ; learned men must have their 
hands, tongues, eyes, ears, brain, and internal and 
external senses different from the foolish herd of 
men ; therefore must they here be transformed , 
and without trouble and offence this cannot be." 
Then I gaze, and behold how dearly these wretched 
ones had to pay for their transformation. I speak 
not of their pouches, but of their skins, which had 
to suffer ; for fists, canes, sticks, birch rods struck 
them on their cheeks, heads, backs, and posteriors 
till blood streamed forth, and they were almost 
3 Literally musculous. 


entirely covered with stripes, scars, spots, and 
weals. Some, seeing this, turned backward before 
entrusting themselves to these guards ; and, indeed, 
as soon as they had looked through the gate, 
others wishing to escape from such educators also 
fled. A smaller number only remained, until they 
were allowed to return into the open air ; and 
feeling a desire for this instruction, I also remained, 
though not without difficulty and bitterness. 

(A Device is given to each Learned Man.} 

4. When we pass through the gate, I see that to 
each one of those whose wit had been somewhat 
sharpened they gave a badge, by which it could be 
known that he was one of those who were learned. 
This was an inkstand at the girdle, a pen in the 
ear, and in the hand an empty book for the 
purpose of seeking knowledge. And I also 
received these things. Then Searchali said to me : 
" Now, here have we fourfold crossways leading to 
philosophy, medicine, jurisprudence, and theology ; 
where shall we go first ? " " As you judge," quoth 
I. Then he again said : " Let us first go into the 
market-place, where all assemble ; there canst 
thou behold them all together ; then will we 
proceed through the various lecture-rooms." 

(Among the Learned also there are Deficiencies^) 

5. And my guide leads me into the market-place ; 
and behold, there were clouds of students, masters, 


doctors, priests, youths, and grey-headed men. 
Some of these stood together conversing and dis 
puting ; others betook themselves to corners, so as 
to be out of the view of the rest. Some (as I well 
saw, but I dared not speak to them of this) had 
eyes, but had no tongue ; others had a tongue, but 
had no eyes : others had only ears, but neither 
eyes nor tongue ; and so forth. Thus did I under 
stand that here also defects remained. But as I 
now see that all these men enter into the place, and 
then again leave it, as bees swarm into and out of 
a bee-hive, I insist that we also should go there. 

(Description of a Library?} 

6. Thus we enter ; and behold, there was a hall 
so large that I could not perceive its ending, and 
on all sides it was so full of many shelves, com 
partments, and gallipots that a man could not have 
conveyed them on a hundred thousand carts ; and 
each one had its own inscription and title. And I 
said : " What apothecary s shop have we then 
entered ? " " Into an apothecary s shop," said the 
interpreter, " where remedies against the ailments 
of the mind are kept ; and this, by its proper 
name, is called a library. See what endless store 
houses of wisdom are here." Then looking, I see 
long rows of learned men, who arrived from all 
directions and turned round these things. Some 
chose out the finest and most subtle among them, 
extracted morsels from them, and received them 
into their bodies, gently chewing and digesting 


them. Approaching one of these men, I ask him, 
" What is done here ? " He answered me : "I 
improve." l " And what taste is there, in this ? " 
quoth I. And he again: "As long as a man 
chews it in the mouth, he feels bitterness and 
sourness, but afterwards it changes into sweetness." 
" And wherefore is this ? " I said. He answered : 
" It is easier for me to carry this within me ; also 
am I thus surer. Dost thou then not see the use ? " 
I looked at him with more care, and I see that he 
is stout and fat and of comely colour. His eyes 
glittered like candles ; his speech was careful, and 
everything about him was lively. Then my 
interpreter says : " Let us see these others also." 

(Disorder in the Studies.) 

And I gaze, and lo ! some here bore themselves 
most greedily, cramming down constantly every 
thing that came into their hands. Then looking 
at them more carefully, I see that their colour, their 
body, and their fat had by no means increased, and 
that their bellies only were swollen and puffed out. 
I see also that what they crammed down again 
crept out of them undigested either above or below. 
Giddiness also befell some of these men, or they 
maddened ; others became pale, pined away and 
died. Seeing this, others pointed at them and told 
each other how dangerous it was to deal with books 
(for this was the name they gave to these gallipots) ; 
some fled, others exhorted each other to handle 
1 I.e., my mind. 


them carefully. These, therefore, did not absorb 
everything ; rather did they burden themselves in 
front and behind with bags and pouches into which 
they crammed these gallipots (on most of them they 
saw written " Vocabulary, Dictionary, Lexicon 
Promptuarium, Floriligium, Loci Communes 
Postillse, Concordancy Herbal," and so forth, accord 
ing to what each one judged appropriate); these 
they carried with them, and when they had to 
speak or write something they took them from 
their pouches, and put them in their mouth or pen- 
Noting this, I said : " These, then, carry their learn 
ing in their pockets ? " The interpreter answered : 
" These are Memorise Subsidia ; hast thou not 
heard of them ? " I had, indeed, heard this custom 
praised by some ; they said that those only who 
used them brought forth learned things. And it 
may be thus, but I noted other incommodities also. 
It befell in my presence that some scattered and 
lost their gallipots, while those of others caught 
fire while they had put them aside. Oh, how they 
then ran to and fro, wrung their hands, lamented, 
and cried for help ! Now no one for a while 
wished to dispute, write, or preach any longer ; 
they walked along drooping their heads, and bend 
ing downward and blushed, and endeavoured 
wherever they could to obtain another little box, 
either by means of entreaties or of money. Those, 
however, who had a store within them feared not 
such accidents so much. 


(Students who study not.) 

8. Meanwhile, I see others, again, who did not 
put these gallipots into their pouches, but carried 
them into a little chamber ; entering behind 
them, I see that they fit out beautiful cases for 
them, paint them in various colours, sometimes 
even border them with silver and gold, place them 
in shelves, and then drawing them out again, look 
at them ; then they fold and again unfold them, 
and walking to and fro, they show one another how 
beautiful these things are ; all this superficially. 
Some also at times looked at the titles, so that they 
might be able to name them. " Why, then," quoth 
I, " do these men trifle in this childish fashion ? " 
The interpreter answered : " Dear comrade, it is a 
fine thing to have a fine library." " Even if you 
use it not ? " said I. He answered : " Those also 
who love their libraries are counted among the 
learned." I thought within myself : " Just as those 
who own a large number of hammers and tongs, but 
know not how to use them, are counted among the 
blacksmiths." But I dared not to say this, fearing 
that they should give me foul word. 

(Disorder in the Writing of Books.) 

9. Then when we had again entered the hall, I 
see that in every direction the number of these 
gallipots increased, and I watched to see whence 
they brought them ; and I see that they were 


brought from behind a screen. Going also behind 
it, I see many turners, who one more diligently 
and neatly than the other fashion these gallipots 
out of wood, bone, stone, and other materials ; then 
they fill them with salve or theriac, and deliver 
them up for general use. And the interpreter 
said to me : " These are the men worthy of praise 
and all honour, who serve their race in the most 
useful fashion, who regret no labour, no endeavours, 
which tend to increase wisdom and learning, and 
who share their glorious gifts with others. And 
the wish befell me to examine out of what stuff 
and in what manner these things (which the inter 
preter called gifts and wisdom) were made and 
fashioned. And I see one or two who collected 
fragrant roots and plants, cut them up, shook, 
cooked, and distilled them, preparing delightful 
theriacs, electuaries, syrups and other medicines, 
which are useful to the life of man. On the other 
hand, I saw some who only picked out things from 
the gallipots of others and transferred them into 
their own ; and of these there were hundreds. 
And I said : " These merely pour out water." The 
interpreter answered : " Thus also is learning in 
creased ; for cannot one and the same thing be done 
now in this, now in that fashion ? Something can 
always be added to the first elements, and they can 
be thus improved." " And spoilt also," I said with 
anger, seeing plainly that deceit was being practised 
here. Some also, seizing the gallipots of others, 
filled up their own, and diluted the contents as 
much as they could, even by pouring in slops ; 


another again condensed the mixture by adding 
every sort of hodge-podge, even dust and sweep 
ings, so that it appeared to be freshly made up. 
Then they erected inscriptions that were even more 
pompous than those of the others, and like other 
quacks, each one impudently praised his own wares. 
Then I both wondered and angered that (as I said 
before) hardly ever did anyone examine the 
internal substance ; rather did they take every 
thing, or at least without choice ; and if some did 
indeed choose, they only contemplated the out 
ward appearance and the inscription. 1 And then I 
understood why so few attained the inward fresh 
ness of the mind ; for the more of these medicines 
each man devoured, the more he vomited, turned 
pale, faded and decayed. And I saw also that a 
large number of these delightful medicaments were 
not even used by men, but became the portion of 
moths, worms, spiders, and flies, and were lost in 
the midst of dust and mould in dark presses and 
remote corners. 

Fearing this fate, some, as soon as they had 
prepared their theriac (some, indeed, before they had 
begun to prepare it), ran to their neighbours asking 
them for prefaces, verses, anagrams ; they instantly 
searched for patrons, who should lend their names 
and purses to the new preparations ; they instantly 
wrote the title and inscription in the most ornate 
fashion ; they instantly embellished the divers 
figures and engravings with curling flowers ; also 
they themselves carried them among the people, 
1 This, of course, refers to the binding and lettering of books. 


and, so to speak, thrust them even on those who 
were reluctant to receive them. But I saw that 
this also availed not, for everywhere the market 
was overstocked. And I pitied some who, although 
they could have enjoyed simple quiet, yet gave 
themselves to this quackery without any necessity 
or use, and, indeed, at the risk of their good name, 
and to the harm of their neighbours. But when I 
gave news of this I earned but hatred, as if I had 
injured the common welfare. I am silent as to 
how some prepared these their electuaries out of 
materials that were plainly poisonous, so that as 
many poisons as medicaments were sold ; and 
unwillingly did I bear such a misdeed, but there 
was no one who could have set matters right. 

{Discord and Strife.) 

10. Then we again enter the market-place of the 
learned, and behold, there were quarrels, strife, 
scuffles, tumult among them. Rarely was there 
one who had not a squabble with another ; for not 
only the young ones (with whom it could be im 
puted to the insolence of undeveloped youth), but 
even the old men plundered one another. For the 
wiser one considered himself, or was by others held 
to be, the more he began to quarrel with those 
around him, fought and hacked, threw and shot at 
them, till it was fearful to behold ; and he founded 
his honour and glory on this. And I said : " But in 
the name of dear God, what is this ? I had 
thought, and this was it promised rne by you, that 


this was the most peaceful career." The inter 
preter answered : " My son, thou dost not under 
stand this ; these men only sharpen their wits." 
" What ! thou sayest they sharpen their wits ! 
But I see wounds, and blood, and wrath, and 
murderous hate of the one against the other. Not 
even among the class of traders have I witnessed 
anything similar." " No doubt," he said, " for the 
arts of such men are but handicrafts, and are 
slavish, while those of the others are free. There 
fore what is not allowed and would not be per 
mitted to them, the others have full liberty to do." 
" But how this can be called order," I said, " I know 
not." It is true that apparently their arms 
seemed by no means terrible. For the spears, 
swords, and daggers with which they hacked and 
stabbed one another were of leather, and they held 
them not in the hand but in the mouth. Their 
artillery consisted of reeds and quills, which they 
loaded with powder that had been dissolved in 
water, and they then threw paper bullets at each 
other. Nothing of this, say I, viewed superficially, 
appeared terrible ; but when I saw that if a man 
was even slightly struck he was convulsed, 
screamed, reeled, fled, it was easy for me to under 
stand that this was not jesting, but veritable 
warfare. Sometimes many pressed one hardly, till 
everywhere around the noise of swords danged in 
the ears, and paper bullets fell on him like hail. 
Sometimes a man, fighting bravely, defended him 
self and dispersed the aggressors ; another, again, 
overcome by his wounds, fell to the ground. And 


I beheld here cruelty unusual elsewhere, for they 
spared neither the wounded nor the dead ; indeed, 
they hacked and struck all the more unmercifully 
at him who could no longer defend himself, mostly 
endeavouring to show their valour in this fashion. 
Some, indeed, dealt with each other in a more 
moderate manner ; but these, also, were not free 
from disputes and misunderstandings. For no 
sooner had one given out an opinion than another 
straightly contradicted it ; they disputed even as to 
whether snow was white or black, fire hot or cold. 

(Great Confusion among them?) 

11. Meanwhile, some interfered in these disputes 
and began to counsel peace, and I joined these men. 
It was also said that all disputes would now 
be settled, and the question arose, Who was to 
undertake this ? The answer was that by per 
mission of Queen Wisdom, the wisest of all classes 
were to be selected, and power given unto them 
after hearing the adverse parties to discriminate 
among the divers opinions with regard to all things, 
and to proclaim what opinion was the true one. 
And many crowded together who either were to be 
or wished to be judges ; of those, in particular, who 
had had dissensions because of the differences of 
their views, a large number assembled. Among 
these I saw Aristotle with Plato, Cicero with 
Sallustius, Scotus 1 with Aquinas, 2 Bartolus 

1 I.e., John Duns Scot. 

2 I.e., St. Thomas of Aquinas. 


with Baldus, Erasmus with the men of the 
Sorbonne, Bamus and Campanella with the peri 
patetics, Theophrastus with Galenus, Hus, Luther 
and others with the Pope and the Jesuits, 
Brentius 1 with Beza, Bodinus 2 with Wier, 3 
Sleidanus 4 with Surius, 5 Schmidlin 6 with the 
Calvinists, Gomarus with Arminius, the Rosi- 
crucians with philosophasters, 7 and countless 
others. When the mediators ordered them to 
bring forward their accusations and complaints in 
writing, and compressed into as few words as 
possible, they laid down such piles of books that 
six thousand years would not have been sufficient 
to examine them ; and they asked that this sum 
mary of their views should for the time be ac 
cepted, but that each one should have full liberty, 
later, when the necessity showed itself, to more fully 
explain and expound his views. And they began 
to look at these books, and as soon as a man began 
to look at one of them he became, as it were, 

1 John Brentius or Brenz, was one of the German 
Church Reformers of the sixteenth century. 

2 John Bodinus, a French writer of the sixteenth century. 

3 Josef Wier, born 1515, was a celebrated physician and 
writer, noted for his controversies with Bodin. 

4 John Sleidanus, whose real name was Philipson, was an 
historian of the sixteenth century. 

5 Lawrence Surius, born at Lubeck in 1522, of Protestant 
parents, became a Roman Catholic, and was the author of 
theological works that were celebrated at the time 
Komensky wrote. 

6 Jacob Schmidlin, born 1528 at Weiblingen, was a note 
worthy Protestant theologian. 

7 I.e., false philosophers. 


intoxicated, and attempted to defend it. 1 Among 
the arbitrators and mediators also great dis 
sension began, for one man maintained this opinion, 
another that one. And having thus settled 
nothing, they dispersed, and the learned men 
again returned to their quarrels ; and this grieved 
me unto tears. 

i I.e., its contents. 



THEN my interpreter said : " Now I will lead you 
among the philosophers, whose work it is to remedy 
the deficiencies of men, and to show wherein true 
wisdom consisteth." Then I said : " Here at least 
I shall, thank God, learn something certain." He 
said : " Assuredly, for these are men who know the 
truth of everything ; without their knowledge 
neither does heaven do anything nor the abyss 
conceal anything ; they nobly guide the lives of 
men to virtue ; they enlighten communities and 
lands. They have God for a friend, and by means 
of their wisdom penetrate His mysteries." "Let 
us go," I said ; " let us go among them as soon as 
possible." But when he led me there, and I saw a 
large number of old men and their wondrous follies, 
I was amazed. There I beheld Bion sitting down 
quietly ; there Anacharsis walked to and fro, 
Thales flew, Hesiod ploughed, Plato hunted in the 
skies for ideas, Homer sang, Aristotle disputed, 

Pythagoras was silent, Epimcnides slept, Archimedes 
129 i 


moved the earth, 1 Solon wrote laws and Galen 
prescriptions, Euclid measured the hall, Kleobulus 
inquired into the future, Periander measured out 
their duties to men, Pittacus warred, Bias begged, 
Epictetus served, Seneca praised poverty while 
surrounded by tons of gold, Socrates informed 
everyone that he knew nothing ; Xenophon, on the 
contrary, promised to teach everyone everything ; 
Diogenes, peeping out of a tub, insulted all who 
passed by ; Timon cursed all, Democritus laughed 
at all this ; Heraclitus, on the other hand, cried ; 
Zeno fasted, Epicure feasted ; Anaxarchus said 
that all things were nothing in reality, but only 
appeared to exist. Of other little philosophers 
there were many, and each one endeavoured to 
prove something particular ; and I did not remember 
everything, nor do I wish to be reminded of it all. 
Pondering over this, I said : " These, then, are the 
wise men, the lights of the world. Alas, alas ! I 
had hoped for other things ; here, as peasants in a 
tavern, each one screams, and each one differently. 
The interpreter said to me : " Thou art a fool ; thou 
dost not understand these mysteries." Then behold, 
some one stepped up to us, also in the garb of a 
philosopher (he was called Paul of Tarsus) and he 
said into mine ear: "If anyone thinks himself 
wise in this world, let him first be simple, so that 
he may become wise. Assuredly the wisdom of 
this world is folly before God. For it is written : 

1 An obvious allusion to Archimedes well-known remark 
to Hiero, which in the Latin version runs thus : " Da mihi 
punctum et terram movebo." 


The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise that 
they are vain " (1. Cor. chap, iii., verse 20). But 
as I saw from this speech that it agreed with what 
my eyes and ears saw and heard, I willingly 
acquiesced in this, and " Let us go elsewhere," I said. 
My interpreter then blamed my folly, for that, 
though able to learn something from these wise men, 
I yet fled them. None the less I silently went my 

( The Pilgrim comes among the Grammarians^ 

2. And we entered into a lecture-room which, 
behold, was full of men, young and old, who with 
pencils drew letters, lines and points; and if one 
wrote down a thing or pronounced it differently 
from another, they either derided one another or 
quarrelled. Then they placed words on the walls, 
and disputed about them as to which one should 
precede the other; and then they composed, disposed, 
and transplaced them in various fashions. And 
wondering at this, and seeing no meaning in it, 
I said : " These are childish things ; let us go 

(Among the Rhetoricians^} 

3. We then came to another hall, where, behold, 
many stood holding brushes, and they discussed as 
to how words either written or spoken into the air 
could be coloured green, red, black, white, or what 
ever colour a man might wish. And I asked what 


was the purpose of this. I was told in answer 
that it was done that the brains of the listeners 
might be coloured in this fashion or that. I again 
said : " Is it for portraying truth or lies that they 
use these colours ? " The interpreter answers : " It 
is as it happens." " Then there is here as much 
falsehood and vanity as truth and profit," say I ; 
and I go from there. 

(Among the Poets.) 

4. Then we arrive elsewhere, and behold, here 
was a troop of agile young men who were weighing 
syllables on balances, and measuring them by the 
span, rejoicing meanwhile, and skipping round 
them. And I marvelled what this was, and the 
interpreter said to me : " Of all the arts that spring 
from letters, none is more skilful or gayer than 
this." " And what, then, is it ? " quoth I. He 
answered : " That which cannot be said in simple 
speech can be expressed in these their compositions." 
But seeing that those who were learning this art of 
composing words looked into certain books, I look 
also, and see names such as " De Culice," " De 
Passere," "De Lesbia," "De Priapo," "De Arte 
Armandi,"" Metamorphoses," "Encomia," "Satyrse," 
and generally farces, poems, love passages, and 
amatory trifling of every sort. Then was I again 
disgusted with the whole matter ; particularly 
when I saw that whoever flattered these measurers 
of syllables, him they endeavoured in every fashion 
to further. But if one was not agreeable to them, 


at him they threw sneers from all directions, so 
that they used their art only either to flatter or to 
sting. Having now remarked what passionate folk 
they were, I gladly turned away from them. 

(Among the Logicians?) 

5. Then proceeding onward, we enter another 
building where they manufactured and sold spy 
glasses. I asked : " What is this ? " The answer 
was that these were " Notiones secundae," and that 
he who had them perceived everything, not super 
ficially only, but also to the innermost core ; parti 
cularly one man could see into the brain of another 
and sift his mind. And many came forward and 
purchased these glasses, and masters taught them 
how to fasten them on, and, if necessary, how to 
turn them. The masters, then, who made them 
were peculiar in this, that they had their work 
shops in remote corners. But they did not make 
them uniform ; one made small, another large ones, 
one round, the other square ones, and each one 
praised his own wares and enticed the buyers, and 
they quarrelled implacably, and pelted one another. 
Some purchased glasses from all the dealers and 
placed them on their noses ; others chose only one 
and fixed it on. Then some said that they yet 
could not see far ; others said they could see, and 
showed each other their innermost brain and 
intellect. But I saw that of these not a few, when 
they began to step forward, fell over stones and 
blocks or into pits (of such things, as I have 


already said, there were many). And I asked : "How, 
then, is it that though everything can be seen 
through these spectacles, they yet do not avoid 
such shocks ? " It was answered me that this was 
the fault, not of the spectacles, but of those who 
knew not how to use them. The masters then 
said it was not sufficient to have the spectacles of 
dialectics, but that the view must also be cleared 
by a clear eye-salve composed of physics and 
mathematics ; therefore should these proceed to 
other lecture-rooms and strengthen their eyesight. 
And I to my guides : " Let us also go there." But I 
did not succeed in this before, induced by Searchall, 
I had procured and fastened on some of these 
spectacles. And it seemed to me that it was true 
that I saw somewhat more, and that some things 
could be viewed in divers fashions. But I continu 
ally insisted that we should proceed so that I might 
try the eye-salve of which they spoke. 

(Among the Natural Philosophers^) 

6. And we proceeded, and they led me to a 
square, in the middle of which I see a large wide- 
spreading tree on which grew sundry leaves and 
sundry fruits (all, as it were, in the shell) ; they 
told me that this was Nature. Bound it there was 
a crowd of philosophers examining it, and expound 
ing to one another how each of the branches, leaves, 
and fruits should be named. And I said : " I hear 
that these men learn how to name things, but that 
they comprehend Nature I do not as yet see." The 


interpreter answered me : " Not everyone can be 
able to do that; but look at these." And I saw 
some who broke off branches, unrolled the leaves 
and fruit, and when they came to the nuts, gnawed 
at them till their teeth shook ; but they said that 
they thus broke the shells, and, picking them up, 
boasted that they had obtained the kernel; and 
they showed it secretly to some, but only to few. 
But taking a careful view of them, I saw clearly 
that they had, indeed, broken and crushed the out 
ward rind and bark, but that the hardest shell in 
which the kernel lay embedded was intact. Then 
seeing here also vain ostentation and idle striving 
(for some, indeed, stared till their eyes pained them, 
and gnawed till they broke their teeth), I proposed 
that we should go elsewhere. 

(A mong the Metaphysicians Umim verum bonum. 
P. Ramus.y 

7. Then we enter another hall, and behold here, 
these philosophical gentlemen having before them 
cows, donkeys, wolves, serpents, and various wild 
animals, birds and reptiles, as well as wood, stones, 
water, fire, clouds, stars and planets, and even 
angels disputed as to how each creature could be 
deprived of that which distinguished it from the 
others, so that all should become similar ; and they 

1 Ramus or La Ramee, the well-known French philosopher, 
born 1515, killed in Paris on St. Bartholomew s Day (1572). 
Komensky greatly valued his writings, as being opposed to 
the teaching of Aristotle. 


took from them first the shape, then the material, 
at last all accessories, so that at last the mere ens 
remained. And then they disputed as to whether 
all things were one and the same, whether all 
things are verily that which they are ; and they 
asked each other more questions such as these. 
Noticing this, some began to wonder, and to tell 
how high human wit had risen, so that it was able 
to surpass all creatures, and to divest all corporal 
things of their corporality. At last I also began to 
delight in these subtleties. But then, one rising 
up declared that such things were mere phantasies, 
and they should desist from them. And he drew 
some away with him ; but others, again, arose and 
condemned him as a heretic, saying that he 
separated men from philosophy, which is the highest 
knowledge, and, as it were, the head "artium." 
And after listening sufficiently to these disputes, 
I went away from this spot. 

(Among the Arithmeticians^) 

8. And proceeding on our way, we come among 
some who dwelt in a hall full of ciphers, and 
shifted them carefully. Some took a few from the 
lot and placed them differently ; others, again, 
collected these separate portions into one ; others, 
again, divided them and spread them out, so that I 
wondered at this their work. Meanwhile, they 
said that in all philosophy there was no knowledge 
more certain than theirs. Here, they said, there 
could be no mistakes, no errors, no superfluity. 


" What, then, is the purpose of this science ? " I 
said. They, wondering at my stupidity, began one 
after the other to tell me marvellous tales. One 
said he could tell me how many geese were flying 
in a flock without counting them ; another said 
he could tell in how many hours a cistern, flowing 
out through five pipes, would empty itself. A third 
man said he could tell me how many " groschen " 
I had in my pouch without looking at it, and so 
forth. Then at last one appeared who undertook 
to count the sands of the sea, and immediately 
wrote a book about this (Archimedes). Another, 
following his example (but endeavouring to show 
more subtlety), busied himself with counting the 
atoms of dust that fly in the sun (Euclid). And I 
was amazed ; and they, trying to assist me in 
understanding this, said these men had laws called 
" regulse trium, societatis, alligationis, falsi." These 
things I but dimly understood. But when they 
wanted to teach me the deepest of all, which was 
called Algebra or Cossa, 1 I saw such a heap of 
weird and crooked writings that giddiness nearly 
overcame me, and shutting my eyes, I begged that 
I might be led elsewhere. 

(Among the Geometricians?) 

9. And we come to another lecture-room, over 
which was written, " OuoVt? ayeo^eY/^To? e(V/ra>," 

i From the Italian word " cosa," which the Italian mathe 
maticians of the sixteenth century used to designate the 
unknown quantity. 


and stopping, I said : " Shall we be allowed to enter 
here, for they admit only geometricians ? " " Go 
on, none the less," said Impudence, and we entered ; 
and behold, there were many there who drew lines, 
hooks, crosses, circles, squares, and points, each one 
quietly and apart from the others. Then one 
walked up to another, and showed what he had 
drawn. One said that it should be different, and 
another that it was well done ; and they disputed 
about this. But if one found some new line or 
hook, he exulted with joy, and calling the others 
together, showed it them. These then wondered, 
turned their fingers and heads round, and each 
returning to his own corner endeavoured to fashion 
something similar. One succeeded, but another 
did not, so that the whole hall, the floor, the walls, 
and the ceiling were full of lines, and they did not 
allow anyone to tread on them or to touch them. 

(Prcscipud apud geometry* controversies de quadrando 
circulo. John Scaliger^ John Clavius?) 

10. Those who were the most learned among 
them assembled in the middle of the hall and strove 
at something with great labour ; and then I saw 
that all the others waited with open mouths ; and 
there was much talk as to this being more won- 

i Besides his better-known philological work, John Justus 
Scaliger studied mathematics and algebra. 

2 Clavius a Jesuit was famous as a mathematician and 
astronomer. He was consulted by Pope Gregory XIII., 
when that pope established the calendar that bears his name. 


drous than any subtlety in the whole world ; were 
it but discovered, they said, nothing would any 
longer be impossible. Now I, desirous to know 
what this was, stepped up to them and saw that 
they had between them a circle, and the question 
was how a square could be fashioned out of it. 
And when they had striven at this with inexpres 
sible labour, they again stepped apart, advising 
one another to meditate further on the matter. 
Then, after a short while, one suddenly jumped up, 
crying : " I have ; I have discovered the mystery ; 
I have ! " And they all crowded round him, hasten 
ing to see and to wonder. And he carried a large 
book in folio, which he showed them ; and there 
were cries and exulting, such as is usual after a 
victory. But another man soon stopped these 
rejoicings. He cried out as largely as his voice did 
permit, that they should not allow themselves to 
be deceived, and that what was shown them was 
not a square. He then placed a yet larger book 
before them, turned all the supposed squares again 
into circles, and mightily strove to prove that it 
was impossible for any man to carry out what the 
other man had attempted. Then all hung down 
their heads, and returned to their lines and to their 

(Among the Land Surveyors?) 

11. We then come to another hall, where they 
sold fingers, spans, yards, fathoms, scales, measures, 
levers, cranes, vices, and other such instruments : 


and the place was full of those who measured and 
weighed. Others, again, measured the hall itself ; 
and almost everyone measured it differently. Then 
they quarrelled and measured afresh. Some 
measured a shadow, as to its length, width, and 
breadth ; others also weighed it in a balance. They 
said generally that there was nothing in this world 
nor out of it which they were unable to measure 
rightly. But having watched this their craft for 
some time, I observed that there was more boasting 
than use. Therefore, shaking my head, I proceeded 

(Among the Musicians) 

12. And we come to another chamber which, as I 
perceive, was full of music and song, and strum 
ming, and the sound of divers instruments ; and 
there were some who stood around, who looked 
from above, from below, and inclined their ears, 
wishing to discover what the sound was, where it 
was, whence and whereto it came, why it was 
sometimes in tune and sometimes not. Some said 
that they already knew this, and they rejoiced, 
saying that it was something divine, and a mystery 
greater than all mysteries ; therefore they drew 
these things asunder, placed them together, and 
then transposed them with great pleasure and re 
joicing. But in this but one of a thousand was 
successful ; the others merely looked on. Then if 
one attempted to employ his hands also at such 
endeavours, then all creaked and scraped ; and 


this befell me also. Then when I saw that some 
who appeared to be men of value held all this to 
be but toying and waste of time, I went elsewhere. 

(Among- the Astronomers^) 

13. Then Impudence led me up some steps to 
what appeared a gallery. There I saw a crowd of 
men who were making ladders, and setting them 
up unto the sky; they then crawled up and 
caught at the stars, and spread over them strings, 
levels, rulers, weights and compasses ; and they 
measured their courses. Then some, sitting down, 
wrote rules concerning such matters as to where, 
and when, and how stars must meet or diverge. 
And I wondered at the boldness of these people 
who dared thus to raise themselves, and to give 
orders to the stars ; then, finding taste in this 
noble science, I also began strenuously to catch 
at the stars. But when I had but slightly busied 
myself with such endeavours, I clearly saw that 
the stars by no means danced in accordance with 
the fiddles 1 of these men. They indeed remarked 
this themselves, and named the " anomalitatem 
coeli " as the cause of the evil. They endeavoured 
to place the stars in order ; now this way, now 
that. They even changed their places, tossing 
some downward toward the earth, while they 
raised others upward. Generally, they thus and 
by other means imagined " Hypotheses," but 
nothing verily seemed to avail. 

1 A proverbial expression in Bohemia. 


(Among the Astrologers.) 

14. Then some no longer climbed thus upward ; 
rather did they, gazing from below, study what 
the constellations were. They then arranged tri 
angles, quadrangles, hexagons, conjunctions, opposi 
tions, and other aspects ; x by means of these they 
predicted, either publicly to the world or privately 
to certain persons, fortune or misfortune ; wrote 
prognostics, and distributed them among the people. 
Hence sometimes fear and terror arose among the 
people, sometimes gaiety; for some heeded them 
not, threw the prognostics into a corner, mocked the 
astrologers, saying that even without prognostics 
one could eat enough, drink enough, sleep enough. 
But it did not seem to me fitting to heed so one 
sided a judgment, if but the art itself was a true 
one. But the more I watched them, the less cer 
tainty did I perceive. If one prediction came true, 
five again proved false. Understanding now that, 
even without stars, guessing is easy, and that 
guessing rightly obtains praise, and that guess 
ing wrongly is excused, I considered it vain to 
be delayed by such matters. 

(Among the Historians) 

15. And we enter yet another square, where, 
behold, I see something new. For there stood 

1 Terms of mediaeval astrology. The relative positions of 
the planets, the sun, and the moon in the zodiac were called 
aspects, and it was believed that the fates of men could be 
ascertained through them. 


here some who had certain carved, bent trum 
pets ; one end of these they pressed over their 
eyes, while they placed the other across their 
shoulders on to their backs. When I asked what 
this was, the interpreter said that these things 
were eye-glasses, with which one could see behind 
one s back. " For," quoth he, " one who wishes to 
be a man must see not only that which is before 
his feet, but he must heed also that which is passed 
and is behind his back, so that he may from the 
past learn the present and the future." And I, 
thinking that this was a new thing (for assuredly 
I knew not before of such crooked eye-glasses), 
begged one of the men to lend me his instru 
ment for a short time that I might gaze through 
it ; and some gave them to me, and oh, monstrous 
thing ! through each one the view was different. 
Through one something appeared distant, through 
another the same thing appeared close ; through 
one it appeared in this, through another in that, 
colour ; again, through a third this thing appeared 
not at all. Thus did I ascertain that there was 
nothing here that I could rely on ; nor was it 
certain that anything was really as it appeared, 
and not coloured before the eyes according to the 
fashion in which the eye-glasses were fitted on. 
But I saw that each one of these men trusted his 
own instrument thoroughly ; thence arose much 
dispute on many matters, and this pleased me 


(Among the Moralists and Politicians?) 

16. When they now begin to lead me elsewhere, 
I ask : " Will there not soon be an end of all these 
learned men ; for already I feel weary and anxious 
from moving about among them." "The best 
yet remaineth," said Impudence. And we enter 
a certain hall that was full of pictures; those 
on one side were pretty and very delightful, but 
those on the other side of the hall were ugly and 
misshapen. Philosophers walked round the pic 
tures, not only looking at them, but also, by means 
of colours, adding to the beauty of some and to the 
ugliness of others. And I asked, " What is this ? " 
The interpreter answered : " Dost thou then not 
see the inscriptions on their foreheads ? " And lead 
ing me nearer he showed me inscriptions, such as 
Fortitude, Temperantia, Justitia, C.oncordia, Reg- 
num, and so forth ; and on the other side, Superbia, 
Gula, Libido, Discordia, Tyrannis, and so forth. 
The philosophers then begged and beseech ed all 
who came near them to love the pretty pictures and 
to hate the ugly ones ; and they praised the ones as 
much as they could, while they abused and blamed 
the others as much as they could. This pleased 
me well, and I said : " Now do I here, at least, find 
some who have wrought something that is worthy 
of the race of men." But meanwhile, I perceive 
that these dear admonishers took no greater interest 
in the beautiful pictures than in the others, and, 
indeed, feared them less than they did the beautiful 


ones ; some, indeed, approached the ugly ones with 
great pleasure, and others beholding this, also turned 
towards them, and began to trifle and make merry 
with these monsters. And I said, with wrath: 
" Here, then, I see that folk (as ^Esop s wolf said) 
say one thing and do another ; what their mouth 
praises, from that their mind flies ; and that which 
their tongue abhors, to that their heart inclines." 
" I presume, then, that thou seekest angels among 
men," said the interpreter chidingly. " Will any 
thing, then, anywhere please thee ? Everywhere 
thou findest but wrong." Then I was silent and 
hung down my head, particularly as I saw that all 
the others also, who perceived that I watched them, 
gazed at me with disfavour. And leaving them 
there, I went outside. 



AND Impudence said : " Now at least come here ; 
I will lead thee there where can be found the 
summit of human wit, and such delightful labours 
that he who once applies himself to it cannot 
abandon it as long as he lives, because of the noble 
pleasure that it gives to the mind." And I begged 
him not to tarry, but to directly show this to me. 
And then he led me into what appeared to be a 
cellar ; and behold, there were there several rows 
of hearths, small ovens, kettles, and divers glass- 
work, so that everything glittered ; men hurried 
about carrying brushwood and spreading it out ; 
then they blew on it, lighted it, and then again 
extinguished it, pouring out some substance and 
mixing it in various fashions. And I asked : 
" Who are these men, and what are they doing ? " 
Impudence answered : " They are the most subtle 
philosophers, who accomplish that which the 
heavenly sun, with its heat, cannot in many years 
effect in the bowels of the earth ; that is, to raise 
divers metals to their highest degree to wit, to 
gold." "But wherefore is this?" I said; " for surely 

more iron and other metal is used than gold ? " 



" What a dolt thou art ! " he said ; " for gold is the 
most precious metal; he who has it fears not 

(Lapis Philosophicus^) 

2. "Besides this, the substance which changes 
metals into gold has other wondrous powers ; that 
one also that it preserves bodily health in its 
wholeness up to death, and does not admit death 
(except after two or three hundred years). Indeed, 
he who would know how to use this substance 
could make himself immortal. For this lapis is 
nothing other than the seed of life, the essence and 
extract of the whole world, out of which animals, 
plants, metals, and the elements themselves take 
their being." And I was afeard, hearing such 
wondrous things, and "These, then, are immortal?" 
I said. " Not all succeed in finding this substance ; 
and those also who obtain it do not always know 
how to deal with it fitly." " I should endeavour," 
said I, " if I had this stone, to use it in such a 
fashion that death could not reach me ; and I 
should hope to have enough gold for myself and 
others. But whence, then, do they take this stone ?" 
He answered : " It is prepared here." " In these 
small kettles ? " I said. " Yes." 

(The Fortunes of Alchemists^} 

3. Wishing such wishes, I thus pursue my way, 
looking at everything, at what was done and how, 


and I see that all did not fare equally. One left 
his fire too cold, and the substance did not boil. 
Another kept it too hot, then his implements burst, 
and something evaporated. The man then said 
that the azoth ] had escaped, and he burst into 
tears. Another, while pouring out the substance, 
spilt some of it, or mixed it wrongly, and damaged 
his eyes by the smoke, and was unable to observe 
the calcination and the clearing of the substance ; 
or his eyes were so saturated with smoke 
that before he had sufficiently rubbed them 
the azoth had flown from him. Some also died 
from inhaling the smoke. And there were many 
of them who had not sufficient coals in their pouch ; 
these had to run to others to borrow some ; mean 
while the brew grew cold, and everything came to 
naught. And this accident was here very frequent, 
almost incessant. For though they admitted no 
one among them who had not a full pouch, yet 
each man s pouch dried up, as it were, so quickly 
that nothing remained in it, and he was obliged 
either to stop his work or to run elsewhere on 
borrowing intent. 

4. And gazing at them, I said : " Of those who 
work here in vain I see many, but I see no one who 
obtains the stone. I see, indeed, that smelting gold 
and broiling the element of life, these men squander 
and dissolve both. But where are these with their 
masses of gold and their immortality ? " He 
answered me thus: "This knowledge will not be 
revealed to thee, nor would I counsel these men to 
1 I.e., nitrogen. 


do so. So precious a thing must be preserved in 
secrecy. For if one of the great of the world 
should hear of such a man, he would wish to seize 
him and make him a prisoner for life. Therefore 
must these men be silent." 

5. Meanwhile, I see that some of those who had 
been scorched were meeting together and listening 
to them. I hear that they were discussing the 
failure of their endeavours among themselves. 
One laid the blame on the philosophers, saying that 
they taught their art in too involved a fashion ; 
another complained of the frailty of the glass im 
plements ; a third pointed to the untimely and 
unfavourable aspect 1 of the planets ; a fourth was 
angry because of the earthly and dim ingredients in 
Mercury ; 2 a fifth complained of the insufficient 
expenditure. On the whole, they had so many 
excuses that they knew not how to defend their 
art. I saw this. And then, as one after the other 
went out, I also went thence. 

1 See note, p. 137. 

2 I.e., quicksilver. 



(Fama fraternitatis Anno 1612, Latine ac 
Germanic e edita.} 

AND then immediately I hear in the market-place 
the sound of a trumpet, and looking back, I see one 
who was riding a horse and calling the philosophers 
together. And when these crowded round him in 
herds, he began to speak to them in fine language 
of the insufficiency of all free arts and of all 
philosophy ; and he told them that some famous 
men had, impelled by God, already examined these 
insufficiencies, had remedied them, and had raised 
the wisdom of man to that degree which it had in 
Paradise before the fall of man. To make gold, he 
said, was one of the smallest of their hundred feats, 
for all Nature was bared and revealed to them ; 
they were able to give to, or take from, each 
creature whatever shape they chose, according to 
their pleasure ; he further said that they knew the 
languages of all nations, as well as everything that 
happened on the whole sphere of the earth, even in 
the new world, and that they were able to dis 
course with one another even at a distance of a 


thousand miles. He said they had the stone, 1 and 
could by means of it entirely heal all illnesses 
and confer long life. For Hugo Alverda, 2 their 
prsepositus, was already 562 years old, and his 
colleagues were not much younger. And though 
they had hidden themselves for so many hundred 
years, only working seven of them at the 
amendment of philosophy, yet would they now no 
longer bide themselves, as they had already brought 
everything to perfection ; and besides this, because 
they knew that a reformation would shortly befall 
the whole world ; therefore openly showing them 
selves, they were ready to share their precious 
secrets with everyone whom they should consider 
worthy. If, then, one applied to them in whatever 
language, and be it that he was of whatever nation, 
each one would obtain everything, and none would 
be left without a kind answer. But if one was 
unworthy, and merely from avarice or frowardness 
wished to secure these gifts, then he should obtain 

( Varia de Fama Judicial) 

2. Having said this, the messenger vanished. I 
then, looking at these learned men, see that almost 
all of them were frightened by this news. Mean 
while, they begin slowly to put their heads together 
and to pass judgment, some in a whisper, some 

i J.e., Lapis philosophicus the philosopher s stone. 
" 2 Hugo Alverda was according to Komensky the founder 
of the Rosicrucians. 


loudly, on this event. And walking, now here, 
now there, among them, I listen. And behold, 
some rejoiced exceedingly, not knowing for joy 
where to go to. They pitied their ancestors, 
because, during their lifetime, nothing such had 
happened. They congratulated themselves because 
perfect philosophy had been fully given unto them. 
Thus could they, without error, know everything ; 
without want, have sufficient of everything; live 
for several hundred years without sickness and 
grey hair, if they only wished it. And they ever 
repeated : " Happy, verily happy, is our age." 
Hearing such speech I also began to rejoice, and to 
feel hopes that, please God, I also should receive 
somewhat of that for which they were longing. 
But I saw others who were absorbed in deep 
thought, and were in doubt as to what to think 
this. Were it but true what they had heard 
announced, they would have been glad ; but these 
matters seemed to them obscure, and surpassing the 
mind of man. Others openly opposed these things, 
saying that they were fraud and deceit. If these 
reformers of philosophy had existed for hundreds 
of years, why, then, had they not appeared before ? 
If they were certain of what they affirmed, why, 
then, did they not appear boldly in the light, but 
express their opinions in the dark, and in corners, 
as if they were whizzing bats. Philosophy, they 
said, is already well established, and requires no 
reform. If you allow this philosophy to be torn 
from your hands, you will have- none whatever. 
Others also reviled and cursed the reformers and 


declared them to be divinators, sorcerers, and 
incarnate devils. 

(Fraternitatem A mbientes.) 

3. Generally there was a noise everywhere in the 
market-place, and almost everyone burnt with the 
desire of obtaining these goods. Therefore not a 
few wrote petitions (some secretly, some openly), 
and they sent them, rejoicing at the thought that 
they also would be received into the association. 1 
But I saw that to each one his petition, after all 
parts of it had been briefly scanned, was returned 
without an answer ; and their joyful hope was 
changed to grief, for the unbelievers laughed at 
them. Some wrote again, a second, a third time, 
and oftener ; and each man, through the aid of the 
muses, 2 begged, and even implored, that his mind 
might not be deprived of that learning which was 
worthy of being desired. Some, unable to bear the 
delay, ran from one region of the earth to another, 
lamenting their misfortune that they could not 
find these happy men. This one attributed to his 
own unworthiness ; another to the ill-will of these 
men ; and then one man despaired, while another, 
looking round and seeking new roads to find these 
men, was again disappointed, till I myself was 
grieved, seeing no end to this. 

1 I.e., of the Rosicrucians. 

2 I.e., through eloquence, poetry, and the liberal arts.. 


(Contumatio Famce Rosceonnn^ 

4. Meanwhile, behold the blowing of trumpets 
again begins ; then many, and I also, run in the 
direction from which the sound came, and I beheld 
one who was spreading out his wares and calling on 
the people to view and buy his wondrous secrets ; 
they were, he said, taken from the treasury of the 
new philosophy, and would content all who were 
desirous of secret knowledge. And there was joy 
that the holy Rosicrucian brotherhood would clearly 
now share its treasures bounteously with them ; 
many approached and bought. Now everything 
that was sold was wrapped up in boxes that were 
painted and had various pretty inscriptions, such 
as : Portse Sapientiaa ; Fortalitium Scientise ; Gym 
nasium Universitatis; BonumMacro-micro-cosmicon ; 
Harmonia utriusque Cosmi; Christiano - Cabalis- 
ticum ; Antrum Naturae ; Tertrinum Catholicum ; 
Pyramis Triumphalis, and so forth. 1 

Now everyone who purchased was forbidden to 
open his box ; for it was said that the force of this 
secret wisdom was such that it worked by pene 
trating through the cover; but if the box was 
opened it would evaporate and vanish. None the 

i These words of uncouth Latinity form part of the 
vocabulary particular to the Rosicrucians, and Komensky 
has formed them partly on Paracelolus Venetus. Komensky 
was well acquainted with the tenets of the Rosicrucians, as 
Andrese, whose pupil he was, and from whom as noted else 
where part of the contents of the " Labyrinth " are derived, 
was one of the prominent Rosicrucians. 


less, some of those who were more forward could 
not refrain from opening them, and finding them 
quite empty, showed this to the others ; these then 
also opened theirs, but no one found anything. They 
then cried " Fraud ! fraud ! " and spoke furiously 
to him who sold the wares; but he calmed them, 
saying that these were the most secret of secret 
things, and that they were invisible to all but " filiis 
scientise " (that is, the sons of science) ; therefore if 
but one out of a thousand obtained anything, this 
was no fault of his. 

(Eventus Famce.) 

5. And they mostly allowed themselves to be 
appeased by this. Meanwhile, the man took him 
self off, and the spectators, in very different humours, 
dispersed in divers directions ; whether some of 
them ascertained something concerning these mys 
teries or not, I have hitherto been unable to learn. 
This only I know, that everything, asit were,became 
quiet. Those whom I had at first most seen run 
ning and rushing about, these I afterwards beheld 
sitting in corners with locked mouths, as it appeared; 
either they had been admitted to the mysteries (as 
some believed of them), and were obliged to carry 
out their oath of silence, or (as it seemed to me, 
looking without any spectacles), they were ashamed 
of their hopes and of their uselessly expended 
labour. Then all this dispersed and became quiet, 
as after a storm the clouds disperse without rain. 
And I said to my guide : " Is nothing, then, to come 


of all this ? Alas, my hopes ! for I likewise, seeing 
such expectations, rejoiced that I had found nurture 
convenient to my mind." The interpreter answered: 
" Who knows ? Someone may yet succeed in this. 
Perhaps these men know the hour when they 
should reveal these things to someone." " Am I 
then to wait for this ? I said. " I who, among so 
many thousand who are more learned than I, know 
not a single example of one who succeeded ? I do 
not wish to continue gaping here. Let us proceed 




THEN my guides, leading me between the physical 
and the chemical lecture-rooms, along some small 
streets, place me in another open space, where I 
beheld a fearful sight. They stretched a man out, 
and cutting off one of his limbs after the other, 
they examined all his intestines, and with great 
pleasure showed one another what they found dis 
covered there. Quoth I : " What cruelty, then, is 
this, to deal with a man as if he were a beast ? " 
" It must be thus," said the interpreter. " This is 
their school." 


2. But these men had meanwhile abandoned 
this work, and they now ran in divers directions 
through gardens, meadows, fields, and hills ; what 
ever things they found growing there they plucked, 
and they carried together such heaps that many 
years would not have sufficed for merely sifting 
and examining them. And each one seized out of 
them what he thought good, or what came in his 


way, and then ran back to the bodies which had 
been cut up, and spread the herbs over the limbs, 
measuring them together according to length, width, 
breadth. One said that this fitted that, another 
that it did not ; then they wrangled about this 
with much screaming nay, even as to the very 
names of these herbs there was much dispute. 
Him who knew most names of herbs, and was 
able to measure and weigh them, they crowned 
with a garland of such herbs ; and they ordered 
that he should be called doctor of this science. 

(Praxis Medendi.) 

3. Then I perceive that they bring and carry to 
these men many who, either inwardly or outwardly, 
had wounds, and were purulent and rotten. Step 
ping towards them, they looked at their putrefied 
limbs, srnelt the stench that proceeded from them, 
handled the filth that leaked out from above and 
below till it was loathsome to behold. And this 
they called examination. Then they immediately 
cooked, stewed, roasted, broiled, cauterised, cooled, 
burnt, hacked, sawed, pricked, sewed together, 
bound up, greased, hardened, softened, wrapped 
up, poured out medicines ; and I know not what 
other things they did not. Meanwhile, the patients 
none the less perished under their hands, many 
railing at them, and saying that it was either 
through their ignorance or their carelessness that 
they had come to ruin. I saw generally that 
though their science awarded these good healers 


some gain, it also constrained them (if they wished 
to fulfil their duties) to much indeed, very much 
hard and, in some cases, also disgusting work, 
and that it brought them as much disfavour as 
favour; and this pleased me not. 



(Finis Juris.*) 

THEN they again lead me to a spacious lecture-room, 
in which I saw more notable men than elsewhere. 
All along the walls they had painted masonry 
blockhouses, fences, ramparts, rails, partition- walls, 
and partitions ; and through these, again, there were 
gaps and holes, doors and gates, bolts and locks, 
and together with them divers keys, hinges, and 
hooks. All these men in the lecture-room pointed 
to this, and attempted to measure where and how it 
would be possible to enter or not. And I asked : 
" What, then, are these folks doing ? " The answer 
was that they were striving to discover how every 
man in the world could retain possession of his 
goods, and also transfer peacefully to himself the 
goods of others while maintaining order and con 
cord. Then I said : " This is a pretty thing ; " yet 
after watching it for some time, it disgusted 

(Jus Circa quid Versetur.) 

2. And this was mainly because they had en 
closed within these barriers not the spirit or the 


mind or the body of man, but only his worldly 
goods, a non-essential matter which seemed not to 
me worthy of the very hard toil that was, as I saw, 
bestowed on it. 

(Fundamentum Juris. Perplexitas Juris.) 

3. Besides, I saw that all this science was founded 
only on the arbitrament of a few, so that if this 
man or that thought well to maintain that this 
thing or that was true, the others judged it accord 
ingly ; or (I noted this here) according to the 
fashion in which a man s brain whirled, he built up 
.or destroyed these fences and gaps. Therefore 
there were many things here that were verily con 
trary to each other, and others had to break their 
heads in a wondrous subtle fashion to settle and 
arrange these differences ; at last I wondered that 
they should grow so heated and sweat so over petty 
matters, some of which hardly occurred once in a 
thousand years, and this with no little arrogance. 
For the better a man was able to burst through a 
gap and then again to stop it up, the more was he 
pleased with himself, and the more did the others 
praise him. But some (wishing to show their wit 
also) opposed the others, and loudly declared that 
thus, and not otherwise, things must be enclosed 
and gaps filled up j 1 then there were quarrels and 
disputes ; then they stepped apart, and one drew 
one design, another a different one, while all en 
deavoured to attract the onlookers. When I had 
1 I.e., the law expounded. 



sufficiently viewed this fooling, I shook my head. 
" Let us hurry hence, for already am I afeard," I 
said. And the interpreter to me, with wrath : 
"Will nothing then please thee in this world? 
Even in the most noble things, man of an unstable 
mind, thou findest somewhat to blame." Impudence 
answered him : " His mind, meseems, sickens with 
religiousness. Let us lead him elsewhere ; there 
perhaps will he find attraction." 



AND lo ! the sound of a trumpet, as if they were 
summoning men to a festival; and Searchall, 
knowing what would happen, says : " Well, let us 
yet turn back; here there will be somewhat to 
behold." "What, then, will happen?" quoth I. 
He answered : " The academy will now crown those 
who, having been more diligent than the others, 
have attained the summit of science." " These," 
say I, "will now be crowned as an example 
to the others." Now being desirous of seeing so 
strange a thing, and seeing that crowds were 
already flocking together, I also enter behind them ; 
and behold, under a philosophical heaven, stood one 
with a paper sceptre, and some out of the crowd 
stepped up to him, demanding a testimony of their 
profound learning. He favoured their demand, 
saying that it was a seemly one, and ordered that 
they should explain in writing what they had 
learned, and what testimonial they required. Then 
one brought forth a summary of philosophy, 
another one of medicine, another one of juris- 


prudence; and their pouches, to make matters 
smoother, abstained not from bribery. 

2. The man then led them forward, one by one, 
and pasted on their foreheads the words : " This is 
a master of the free arts ; this a doctor of medicine ; 
this a licentiate of both laws," ] and so forth ; and he 
confirmed all this with his seal, ordering all present 
and not present, at the risk of the wrath of the 
goddess Pallas, not to address them otherwise than 
by this title when they met them. And then he 
dismissed them and the whole crowd. Then I said : 
" Will, then, nothing more happen ? " " And is this, 
then, not sufficient for thee ? " the interpreter said. 
<( Dost thou not see how all give way to these men 
that have been crowned ? " And freely the others 
made way for them. 

3. But none the less, I, who ever wished to see 
what would then happen to these men, watched one 
of these masters of arts ; then they asked him to 
count something together, but he knew not how to 
do so ; they then told him to measure something, he 
knew not how to do so. They asked him to name 
the stars, he knew not how to do it ; they asked 
him how to expound syllogisms, he knew not how 
to do it ; they asked him to talk in strange tongues, 
he knew not how to do it ; they asked him to speak 
in his own language, he knew not how to do it ; at 
last they asked him to read and write, he knew not 
how to do it. " But what a sin is this," I said, " to 
call yourself a master of the seven arts, and then to 
know not one?" The interpreter answered: "If 
1 J.c., civil and ecclesiastical law. 


one learneth not, a second, a third, a fourth does ; 
all cannot be perfect." " Now I understand," I said, 
"that after spending a lifetime in the schools, after 
laying out a fortune on this, after having received 
titles and seals, it is at the end still necessary to 
inquire whether a man has learnt something. God 
help me against such mismanagement." " Thou wilt 
not cease thy sophistry," said he, "till thou hast 
come to grief ; continue then to prattle pertly, but 
I swear that thou wilt encounter some evil." 
" Well, then," quoth I, " be it that they are masters 
and doctors of seven times seventy sciences ; be it 
that they know all things or none, I will say 
naught more. Only let us go hence." 



(The Pagans?} 

AND they lead me through certain passages, and 
we come to a market-place in which stood a multi 
tude of churches and chapels built in divers shapes, 
and crowds were entering them, and then again 
leaving them ; and we step into the one that was 
nearest, and behold, there were in every direction 
engravings and casts of men and women, also of 
divers animals, birds, reptiles, trees and plants ; 
everything also was full of pictures of the sun, the 
moon, and the stars, and even of most vexatious 
devils. Now of those who entered, each one chose 
what pleased him, knelt before it, kissed it, incensed 
it, and sacrificed to it. But what appeared to me 
wondrous was the concord among these men ; for 
though each one indeed performed his devotion 
differently, they yet permitted this, and peacefully 
allowed each one to retain his opinion (a thing that 
I saw not afterwards elsewhere). But then a certain 
stinking smell overcame me, so that terror seized 

me, and I hurried forth. 



( The Jews. Talmudi Figment a.) 

2. We then enter into another temple, white and 
clean, in which there were but images of living 
beings ; some of these were shaking their heads, 
muttering somewhat in a low voice ; others raised 
themselves, stopped their ears and then opened 
their mouths wide, emitting a sound not dissimilar 
from the howl of a wolf. Then they crowded 
together and looked at certain books ; and stepping 
up to them I saw wondrous paintings ; for instance, 
a feathered and winged beast, birds also without 
feathers and wings, beasts with the limbs of men, 
and men with the limbs of beasts, one body with 
many heads, and then again a head with many 
bodies. Some of these monsters had instead of a 
head a tail, others again a tail instead of a head ; 
others had eyes under their belly, and feet at their 
backs ; some, again, had countless eyes, ears, feet ; 
others had nothing of this sort ; and all this was 
strangely displaced, twisted, bent, crooked, and 
most unequal. For one limb was a span, another 
fathoms long; one had the breadth of a finger, 
another that of a barrel ; generally everything was 
monstrous, more than can be believed. They, 
however, said that these were but vain tales, and, 
praising how fine it was, the elders expounded the 
mystery to the younger men. And I said : " Who, 
then, could believe there were men who could relish 
such tasteless things ? Let us leave them ; let us 
go elsewhere." And going out, I see that these 


men walked about among the others, but displeased 
all, and caused but laughter and scorn. This 
induced me also to contemn them. 

(The Mahomedans.) 

3. We then enter another temple, which was 
rounded, and no less pretty than that of the others ; 
but it was without ornaments, except a few letters 
on the walls and carpets on the floor. Meanwhile, 
the people within demeaned themselves quietly and 
piously ; they were clothed in white, and were great 
lovers of cleanliness, for they were ever bathing ; 
also did they give alms to the poor, so that in 
consequence of their behaviour I felt some affection 
for them. And I said : " What motive, then, have 
these men for their actions ? " Searchall answered : 
" They carry under their clothing." And then I 
step nearer and endeavour to see. But they said 
that this was fitting but for the interpreters. Still, 
I wished to see, and based my request on the 
permission that I had received from the lord Fate. 

(A Summary of the " Al Koran") 

4. And a tablet was procured and shown me, on 
which stood a tree with its roots extending upward 
towards the sky ; but its branches jutted into the 
earth. All around a large number of moles were 
digging, and one large mole went round, called the 
others together and directed their work. And they 
told me that manifold delicious fruits grew on the 


branches of this tree under the earth, which, they 
said, these quiet and industrious little animals 
obtained. "And this," quoth Searchall, "is the 
summary of this their religion." And I understood 
that its foundation was on the air of vain opinion, 
and that its purpose and fruits was but to burrow 
in the earth, to seek solace in invisible delights 
that existed not, and blindly to search for they 
knew not what. 

(Mahomedanism is founded on Force?) 

5. And leaving this spot, I said unto my guide : 
"How, then, do these men prove that this is a 
certain and true foundation of a religion ? " He 
answered me : " Come and see." And we go 
behind the church to a market-place, and behold 
these white-clothed and well-washed men ran 
about with tucked-up sleeves, with sparkling eyes, 
biting their lips, roaring fiercely, sabring all they 
met, and wallowing in human blood. Then I was 
afeard, ran back, and said : " What, then, are these 
men doing ? " The answer was : " They are 
discussing concerning religion, and proving that 
the f Al Koran is a true book." 

(There is Discord between the Persians and the 
Turks concerning the " Al Koran.") 

6. And we again enter the temple, and lo ! among 
those also who carried the tablet there was, as I 
ascertained, strife as to which was the foremost mole. 


Some, indeed, that one alone ruled the smaller 
moles, others that he should have two assistants ; 
and on this matter they quarrelled among them 
selves, as they had with those outside the temple, 
and they disputed by means of iron and fire till it 
was terrible to behold. 



AND seeing that I was terrified, my guide said : 
" Now let us go forth, and I will show thee the 
Christian religion, which, founded as it is on the 
certain revelations of God, satisfies both the 
simplest and the wisest ; just as it brings heavenly 
truth clearly to the light, so also it defeats hostile 
errors, and it glories in concord and love. In the 
midst of countless adversities, it has remained 
unconquered, and will continue so. From this wilt 
thou readily be able to understand that the origin 
of this religion must proceed from God, and that 
here thou canst obtain true solace." And I rejoiced 
over this speech, and we went further. 


2. And when we arrive, I see that they had a gate 
through which all had to pass. The gate stood in 
the water, and each one had to ford it, to wash 
himself, and assume the badge of these men, which 
was of white and red colour, and to swear that he 
would stand by their rights and rules, believe as 

they did, pray as they did, observe the same 


commands as they did. And this pleased me as 
somewhat of a beginning of a noble order of things. 

3. When I had passed through the portal, I see 
large crowds of men, and some of them different 
from the others by the vestments that they wore. 
These stood apart in a recess, and showed the 
people what appeared an image, painted so daintily 
that the more a man gazed at it, the more he found 
in it to admire ; but as it was adorned neither 
with gold nor with glittering colours, it was not 
very visible from a distance. Therefore I saw 
that those who stood at a distance were not so 
much charmed by its beauty, but that those who 
were nearer were never satiated beholding it. 

(The Image of Christ^) 

4. Those, then, who carried this image praised 
it exceedingly, calling it the Son of God, and saying 
that in it all virtues were pictured, and that it had 
been sent from heaven to earth that men might 
find in it an example of how they should practise 
virtue among themselves. And there was gladness 
and rejoicing ; falling on their knees, they lifted 
their hands heavenward and praised God. And 
seeing this, I added my voice to theirs, and praised 
God that He had allowed me to arrive at this spot. 

(The Spiritual Feasts of the Christians^) 

5. Meanwhile, I hear many and divers admoni 
tions that everyone should conform to this image, 


and I see that they meet together at various places, 
and that those to whom the image was entrusted, 
make small counterfeits of it, and distribute them 
to all, as it were, in a covering, and they with piety 
take them into their mouths. Then I ask : " What 
are they doing here ? " The answer was that it 
sufficed not merely to behold the often-named 
image outwardly, but that one must also enter 
into its innermost, so that a man could transform 
himself into its beauty. For all sins, they said, 
must vanish before this celestial medicine. And I, 
relying on this message, praised within myself the 
Christians as blessed men, who possessed among 
themselves such remedies and such help against 

(Dissoluteness among the Christians^) 

6. Meanwhile, looking at some of those who had 
recently as they said received God, gave them 
selves up one after the other to drunkenness, 
quarrelling, impurity, thieving, and robbing. But 
I, trusting not mine eyes, gaze yet more carefully, 
and I see in truest truth that they drink and 
vomit, quarrel and fight, rob and pillage one 
another both by cunning and by violence, neigh 
and skip from wantonness, shout and whistle, 
commit fornication and adultery worse than any 
of the others I had seen ; briefly, everything thev 
did was in contradiction to the admonitions they 
had received and to their own promises. There 
fore was I troubled, and mournfully I said : " But 


what, in the name of the Lord God, are they doing 
here ? " Here I sought something different. "Wonder 
not so much," answered the interpreter. " That 
which is set forth to all men as an example is the 
degree of perfection which earthty weakness cannot 
always attain ; those who lead the others are, 
indeed, more perfect, but the ordinary men, occu 
pied with many concerns, cannot equal them." 
" Let us, then," I said, " go among these leaders, 
that I may behold them." 

(On the Barrenness of Preachers?) 

7. And my guide then led me to those who 
stood on the steps ; and these, indeed, exhorted 
the people to love the image, but, as it seemed to 
me, but feebly. For if one listened and obeyed, 
well and good ; if he did not do so, it was well 
also. Some clanked keys, saying they had the 
power to close on those who did not obey them 
the gate by which man reaches God; but mean 
while they closed it on no man, or, at least, when 
they did so, they did it as it were in jest. Indeed, 
I saw that they dared not do this very daringly ; 
for if one attempted to speak somewhat sharply, 
they reviled him, saying that he preached against 
persons. Therefore some, daring not to do so by 
word of mouth, in writing raged against sin ; but 
they screamed against these also, saying that they 
spread lampoons. Therefore, they either turned 
away from these men or threw them down the 
steps, replacing them by other more moderate 


men. Seeing this, I said : " This is folly that, as 
their leaders and councillors, they wish to have 
followers and flatterers." " That is the way of the 
world," said the interpreter, " and it harms not. 
If these criers were given entire freedom, who 
knows what they would not dare to do. A line 
must be drawn for them beyond which they cannot 

( The Carnality of Clerical People among the 

8. " Let us, then," I said, " go to the spot where 
they * are, so that I may see them alone, and dis 
cover how they manage their affairs outside of their 
pulpits ; there, at least, I know that no one measures 
their steps or hinders them." And we enter there 
where priests only dwelt, and I, who think that I 
shall find them praying and studying the mysteries 
of religion, also found that some snored, wallowing 
on feather-beds ; others feasted, seated at divers 
tables, cramming and pouring down things till they 
became speechless ; others performed dances and 
leaps; others crammed with treasures pouches, 
chests, and chambers; others pass their time in 
love-making and wantonness ; others employ them 
selves in fastening on spurs, daggers, swords, mus 
kets; others bestirred themselves with dogs and 
hares, so that they spent the least part of their time 
with the Bible ; indeed, some hardly ever took it in 
their hand, although they called themselves teachers 
1 I.e., the priests. 


of the Gospel. Seeing this, I said : " Alas ! oh my 
grief ! these, then, are to be men s leaders heaven 
ward and their models of virtue. Shall I then 
never find anything in this world that is free from 
fraud and deceit ? " Hearing this, and understanding 
that I was complaining of their irregular life, some 
of those present looked askance [askew] at me, and 
began to mutter : " If I was seeking hypocrites and 
superficial devotees, I was to seek them elsewhere ; 
they knew how to do their duty in church, and at 
home, and in the world to behave in a worldly 
fashion." Then I was obliged to be silent, though I 
clearly saw that it is monstrous to wear a coat of 
mail over a surplice, a helmet over a barat, to hold 
the Word of God in one hand, a sword in the other ; 
to carry Peter s keys in front and Judas s wallet 
behind ; to have a mind educated by Scripture and 
a heart practised in fraud, a tongue full of piety and 
eyes full of wantonness. 

(By Heavenly Gifts they help others^ but not 

9. Then I see some especially who, in the pulpits, 
held forth in a very learned and pious fashion, and 
pleased themselves and others no less than if they 
had been angels ; but their life was just as wild as 
that of the others, and I could not refrain from 
saying : " Lo ! here are trumpets through which 
good things flow, but they themselves retain them 
not." The interpreter said : " This also is a gift of 
God, to speak prettily of divine matters." " It is 


indeed a gift of God, but is it to stop at mere 

(Disorder among the Bishops?) 

10. Meanwhile, seeing that all these men have 
over them their elders (called bishops, archbishops, 
abbots, provosts, deans, superintendents, inspectors, 
and so forth) weighty and worthy men, to whom 
all rendered much honour, and I thought : " Why, 
then, do not these restrain those of inferior rank ? " 
And wishing to discover the cause of this I follow 
one of them into his chamber; then a second, a 
third, a fourth one, and so forth. And I find them 
all so busy that they had no time to watch the 
others. Except some things that they had in 
common with the others, they seemed to be occu 
pied with counting their revenues and their church 
treasures (as they called them). And I said : " By 
mistake, I think, they call these men spiritual ] 
fathers ; they should be called fathers who receive 
revenue." The interpreter answered : " Yet care 
must be taken that the Church loseth not what 
God grants her, and what the pious forefathers 
have given her." Meanwhile, one stepped up to us 
who had two keys hanging from his girdle (he was 
called Peter), and he said : " Men and brethren, it 
is not seemly that, neglecting the Word of God, we 
should labour at desks and chests. Let us then 

1 This pun is untranslatable. In Bohemian, " spiritual " is 
"duchovni, 3 while "duchodni" signifies a collector of rents 
or revenues. 


choose men of good repute, and make over this 
work to them, while we ourselves are diligent at 
prayer and the service of the Word of God." And 
hearing this I rejoiced, for according to my mind 
this was good counsel. But hardly any agreed to 
this. They continued to add up accounts them 
selves, paid out and received money, while they 
either left prayer and the service of God s Word to 
others or performed these duties but hastily. 

11. When one of them died and the cares of 
leadership had to be transferred to another, I saw 
much striving for favour, much searching and 
endeavouring to obtain patronage ; each one 
struggled for a place before even the seat was cold. 
But he who had to confer it received judgments 
from them, and of them that differed greatly. One 
man claimed to be a kinsman; another a relation of 
the giver s wife ; a third said that he had long 
served the elders and therefore hoped for a reward ; 
a fourth, that he had a promise on which he relied ; 
a fifth claimed to be placed in an honourable office 
because of his descent from honourable parents ; 
the sixth brought forward the praise that he had 
obtained from others ; the seventh offered gifts ; 
the eighth, being a man of deep, high, and broad 
thoughts, claimed for himself a place where he could 
yet further enlarge his mind ; and I know not what 
more. And seeing this, I said : " This assuredly is 
not beseeming, to thrust yourself forward for the 
purpose of obtaining such dignities ; they should 
indeed wait till they are called." The interpreter 
answers : " Should then the unwilling ones be 


called ? He who seeks dignities should make his 
name known." " I verily believed," quoth I, " that 
we must here await God s call." Then he again : 
" Dost thou then think that God will call someone 
from heaven ? God s call is the favour of the 
elders, which everyone who prepares himself for 
the calling is free to obtain." " I see, then," quoth 
I, " that it is not necessary to seek for men, or 
drive them into the service of the Church ; rather 
to drive them from it ! Rather, if favour should 
be sought at all, it should be sought therein, that 
each man should by his humility, quietude, endear 
himself to the Church, and not by such means as I 
see here employed. Be it as it may, such things 
are disorderly." 

(The Christians Trust in Faith without Works.) 

12. Now, when my interpreter saw that I insisted 
on this matter, he said to me : " It is true that 
among Christians, even theologians, there is more 
that is unbeseeming than elsewhere ; but this also 
is true, that even Christians of evil life die well. 
For the salvation of man dependeth not on deeds, 
but on faith ; if this, then, is true, they cannot fail 
to achieve salvation ; if but their faith is certain, 
it is enough." 

(There are Disputes also concerning Faith. The 
Holy Gospel is the Touchstone^) 

13. " Do all, then, agree as to their faith ? " quoth 
I. He answered : " There is indeed somewhat of 


difference ; but all have the same foundation." 
Then they lead me behind a railing into the centre 
of a large church, where I behold a large, round 
stone that hung downward by a chain. They 
called it the touchstone. The foremost men 
walked up to this stone, each one carrying some 
what in his hand, such things, for instance, as a 
morsel of gold, silver, iron, lead or sand, chaff, or so 
forth. Then each one touched the stone with that 
which he had brought, and praised it, saying that 
it had stood the test ; others who looked on said 
that it had not done so. Then they wrangled 
among themselves, for no one allowed his goods to 
be defamed, nor would he approve of the goods of 
another. They then reviled and cursed each other, 
tearing and pulling each other s caps, ears, and 
whatever part they could seize. Others wrangled 
about the stone itself, and about its colour. Some 
said that it was blue ; others that it was green ; 
others that it was black. At last some were found 
who said it was of changeable colour, and that 
according to the thing that touched it. it appeared 
differently. Some advised that the stone should 
be broken up into bits ; when it had been pulver 
ised, then could one see its essence. Others allowed 
not this. Others, going farther, said that this 
stone caused but strife. It should be taken down 
and removed ; then would they more easily com 
pose their differences. To this a large number, 
even of the foremost, agreed. Others opposed this, 
saying that they would rather lay down their 
lives than allow it; and indeed, when the strife 


and the skirmishing increased, no few were killed, 
but the stone yet remained ; for it was round and 
very slippery. He who stretched out his hand 
towards it could not grasp it, and it continued as 

(The Christians are divided into Sects.) 

14. Then going outside of this railing, lo ! I see 
that this church had many little chapels, to which 
those went who had not been able to agree when 
before this touchstone, and behind each of them 
followed a number of men. They gave the people 
rules as to how they should differ from the others ; 
some said that one should be marked by water or 
fire ; others, that one should always have the sign 
ready at hand and in the pocket ; others said that 
beside the principal image, at which all should gaze, 
men should, for greater perfection, carry with them 
also as many small ones as was possible ; others 
said that when praying one should not kneel, for 
that was a thing of the Pharisees ; others, again, 
said that they would not endure music among 
them, as it was a wanton thing ; others, again, said 
that one should accept the teaching of no man, and 
be content with the innermost revelation of the 
spirit. When gazing at these chapels, I beheld 
somewhat wondrous regulations. 

(Of these Chapels, one is the most wondrous) 

15. Now one of these chapels was the largest 
and finest, gleaming with gold and precious stones ; 


and in it was heard the sound of gay instruments. 
Into this one I was carefully led, and I was ad 
monished to look around me, for here was a religious 
service more delightful than any other. And be 
hold, along the walls there were everywhere images 
showing how a man could attain heaven. Here 
some were depicted who had made themselves 
ladders, set them heavenward and climbed up 
them ; others piled up hills and mountains one on 
the other, that they might rise upward by such 
means; others fashioned for themselves wings and 
fastened them on ; others caught up some winged 
creatures, tied them together, attached themselves 
to them, hoping with them thus to fly upward, and 
so forth. There were also many priests of divers 
shape, who showed these images to the people and 
praised them ; at the same time, they taught them 
to distinguish themselves from the others by divers 
ceremonies. Now one clothed in gold and purple sat 
on a high throne distributing rare gifts to the 
followers and councillors who were his intimates. 
And it seemed to me that this was right orderly 
and more merry than anything else. But when I 
had visited the other sections, and saw that these 
attacked them, severely censured and blamed these 
things, 1 I became suspicious; particularly when I 
saw that the}^ answered and defended themselves but 
timidly, while by means of stoning, water, fire and 
the sword, and on the other hand by means of gold, 
they enticed to them the misled people. Also did I 
behold among them much discord, disputes, hatred, 
I.e., the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church. 


striving to thrust others from their offices, and 
other disorders. Thence I went forth from here to 
behold those who are called reformed. 

( These others endeavour vainly to united) 

16. And I hear and see that some of these 
chapels (two or three that were near to each other) 
deliberated as to how they could become one ; x but 
they could find no compromise. Everyone main 
tained that which was in his own head, and en 
deavoured to persuade the others to agree to it. 
Some foolish ones took up at random any doctrine 
that came in their way ; others more cunningly 
entered or left the divers chapels according to what 
appeared to them advantageous ; and at last I was 
displeased by the confusion and wavering among 
these dear Christians. 

( The true Christians?- The Pilgrim recognises 
them not.) 

17. Among these men there were some who said 
they had no concern with this strife ; they walked 

Mn Germany, and [in Bohemia up to the suppression 
of all Protestant sects, the Lutherans, Calvinists, and 
brethren of the Unity (Komensky s own church) frequently 
endeavoured to formulate a joint profession of faith. This 
attempt met with little success. In Bohemia such a pro 
fession, the " Corifessio Bohemica," was actually drawn up. 
(See my " Bohemia : an Historical Sketch," pp. 274-287, and 

2 Komensky here gives under this name a perhaps slightly 
idealised description of the community to which he himself 
belonged ; he has dealt with the same motif somewhat 


on silently, quietly, as in thought, looking heaven 
ward, and bearing themselves affably towards all, 
and they were insignificant and ragged, exhausted 
by fasting and thirst ; but the others bat laughed 
at them, cried shame on them, hissed them, 
scratched and toused them, pointed at them with 
their fingers, tripped them up, and mocked them. 
But they, enduring everything, went their way, as 
if they had been blind, deaf, dumb. Now when I 
saw them come forth from behind the railing and 
enter the choir, I wished to enter there also and see 
what they had there. But the interpreter pulled 
me back. " What dost thou wish to do there ? Dost 
thou desire to become a laughing-stock ? That 
were indeed a desirable thing ! " So I entered not, 
and, alas! I overlooked this spot, deceived by my 
evil companion, Falsehood. I missed here the 
centre of heaven and earth, and the road leading to 
the place where man is saturated with joy. I was 
again led into the turmoil of the labyrinth of the 
world, till my God saved me and guided me back 
again to the path which I had left at this spot. 
What then befell, 1 and how it befell, I shall tell 
later; but at the time I judged not thus, for 

more extensively in the last chapters of this book. As 
so many passages in Komensky s masterpiece have an auto 
biographic character, it may be well to mention that he is 
in this chapter referring to the imaginary "pilgrim." 
Komensky himself belonged to the Unity during his 
whole life. 

1 Komeiisky here refers to his mystical union with God, 
which he describes in those chapters of his book, the last 
ones, that are entitled the " Paradise of the Heart." 


seeking but outward peace and comfort, I hastened 
away to gape at other things. 

(An Accident befalls the Pilgrim while in the Estate 
of the Clergy?) 

18. I will not pass over in silence what further 
befell me in this street. My friend Impudence had 
persuaded me to join the estate of the ecclesiastics, 
saying that it was my destiny to belong to it ; and, 
indeed, I confess that this was according to my 
wishes, though not everything in that estate 
pleased me. And I allow myself to be inveigled ; 
I assume cap and cowl, and step with others into 
divers side chapels till a separate one was allotted 
unto me. But looking back at those behind me, I 
see that one turned his back on me ; another shook 
his head over me ; a third winked with his eye at 
me evilly ; a fourth threatened me with his fist ; a 
fifth pointed at me with his finger. At last, 1 some 
rushing at me, push me away and put another in 
my place, threatening that they would do yet 
worse ; and I was afeard and ran away, saying to 
my guides : " Oh, over this most wretched world, 

1 Though this is a mere conjecture, I think that, in dis 
tinction to the earlier part of this chapter, Komensky here 
writes autobiographically. Komensky s dissensions with 
members of his community were, indeed, later than the 
year 1623, in which he wrote the "Labyrinth." But it is 
known that the later editions, particularly that of Amster 
dam, 1663, from which I translate, contains additions. A 
full commentary on the "Labyrinth" and thoroughly 
critical edition of the book have, unfortunately, not yet 
been published in Bohemia. 


one thing after the other fails ! " " No doubt/ said 
the interpreter. " Why takest thou not heed not 
to incite men against thee ? He who would be 
among men must accommodate himself to men, not 
behave like a fool, as thou always dosfc." " I know 
now naught but to abandon everything," I said. 
" Not so, not so," said Impudence ; " we must not 
despair. If thou art not fit for this, thou wilt be 
fit for somewhat else. Come but on, and we will 
see other things," and taking me by the hand, he 
led me on. 



( The divers Ranks of Magistrates.) 

WE then enter another street, where on all sides 
I behold countless chairs, some higher and some 
lower. Now they called those who sat on them 
Sir Judge, Sir Burgomaster, Sir Official, Sir Regent, 
Sir Burgrave, Lord Chancellor, Lord-Lieutenant, 
Lord Justice, Gracious King, Prince, and so forth. 
And the interpreter said to me : " Now, thou hast 
before thee the men who deliver judgments and 
sentences in law-suits, punish the evil, defend the 
good, and maintain order in the world." " This is, 
indeed, a fine thing, and one that is necessary for 
mankind," quoth I. " But whence do they take 
these men ? " He answered me : " Some are born 
to this estate ; some are elected to it either by 
these men or by the community because they are 
considered the wisest of all, the most experienced, 
and the men best informed of law and justice." 
" This also is well," quoth I. 

1. But at that moment it was for a short time 
granted me to see clearly, and I behold that some 

obtain these seats by purchase, others by entreatv, 



others by flattery, while others, again, occupied them 
arbitrarily. Seeing this, I exclaimed : " Lo, what 
disorder ! " " Hush, froward one," said the inter 
preter ; " thou wilt fare ill if they hear thee ! " 
" Why, then," quoth I, " do not these men wait till 
they are chosen ? " He answered : " Ha ! these 
men are no doubt conscious that they are capable 
of such work ; if the others admit them to it, what 
concern is that of thine ? " 

3. Then I am silent ; and after putting my 
spectacles aright, I look at these men attentively 
and witness an astounding sight to wit, that hardly 
one of them possessed all his limbs ; almost every 
one of them was devoid of some necessary thing. 
Some had not ears through which they could hear 
the complaints of their subordinates ; some had not 
eyes to see the disorder before them ; some had not 
a nose to scent the plots of knaves against the 
right ; some had not a tongue to speak in favour 
of the dumb, oppressed ones ; some had no hand to 
carry out the decrees of justice ; many also had not 
a heart to do what justice requires. 

4. But those who had all these things were woe 
ful men, as I saw ; for they were continually 
importuned, so that they could neither eat quietly 
nor sleep sufficiently, while the others spent more 
than half their time in idleness. And I said : 
" Why, then, do they entrust these judgments to 
such men, who have not the members necessary for 
the purpose ? " The interpreter answered that this 
was not so, but that it only appeared thus to me 
for he said : " Qui nescit simulare nescit regnare. 


He who would rule others must often not see, not 
hear, not understand, even if he sees, hears, under 
stands. This, as thou art inexperienced in public 
affairs, thou canst not understand." " Yet, on my 
faith," quoth I, " I see that they have not the 
members they should have." " And I," said he, 
" counsel thee to be silent ; indeed, I promise thee 
that if thou ceasest not to cavil thou shalt find thy 
self in a place that will please thee not. Knowest 
thou not that censuring judges endangers the neck ? " 
Then I was silent and gazed quietly at everything. 
But it does not seem to me fitting that I should 
narrate all that I saw at the divers chairs. On two 
things only will I touch. 

(Disorder and Injustice are frequent among Judges?) 

5. I observed most carefully the law-court of the 
senators, and I saw that the names of the lord- 
justices were as follows : Judge Nogod, Judge 
Lovestrife, Judge Hearsay, Judge Partial, Judge 
Loveself. Judge Lovegold, Judge Takegifb, Judge 
Ignorant, Judge Knowlittle, Judge Hasty, Judge 
Slovenly. The president of them all was Lord 
Thus-I-will-it. From their names I immediately 
began to perceive what manner of judges they 
were ; but an example of it befell in my presence. 
Simplicity was accused by an enemy of having 
defamed some good men by calling them usurers, 
misers, drunkards, gluttons, tipplers, and I know 
not what else. As witnesses, Calumny, Lie, and 
Suspicion were brought forward. As council, 


Flattery appeared for one side, and Prattler for the 
other ; but Simplicity declared that she needed 
him not. Questioned whether she admitted that 
of which she was accused, she said : " I admit, dear 
my lords. Here I stand ; I cannot speak differently. 
May God help me !" Then the judges, crowding 
together, collected the votes. Nogod said : " It is, 
indeed, true what this wench sayeth ; but what 
business had she to gossip thus ? If we let it pass, 
she will use her jaw against us also. I give my 
vote in favour of her being punished." Lovestrife 
said : " Certainly ; for if such a thing were passed 
over once, others also would ask for forbearance." 
Hearsay said : " I do not, indeed, truly know what 
has happened, but as the complainant lays so much 
importance on this matter, I conclude that it really 
gives him pain. Let her then be punished." Partial 
said : " I had known before that this chatterer 
blabs out everything she knows. It is necessary 
to stop her jaws." Loveself said : " The injured 
man is my good friend. She should at least have 
spared him, for my sake, and not have affronted 
him in this fashion. She deserves punishment." 
Lovegold said : " You know how bounteous he ] 
has proved himself; he deserves our protection." 
Takegift said : " It is so ; we would be ungrateful 
if we did not attend to his complaint." Ignorant 
said : " I know no precedent in this case. Let her 
suffer as she has deserved." Then Knowlittle : "I 
do not understand the case. I agree to whatever 
sentence you may pass." Slovenly said : " Be it as 
I.e., the complainant. 


it may. I accede to everything." Careless said : 
"Can we not defer the lawsuit? Perhaps the 
matter will clear itself up later." Hasty said : 
"Not so; let us gladly pass -judgment." Then 
the Lord-Justice said : " Certainly ; whom have we 
to consider ? As the law will sit, so must it be 
done." And rising, he delivered his sentence : 
" As this prattling woman has given herself up to 
much unbecoming conduct, and shows ill-will to 
good men, she shall receive forty stripes, save one, 
to subdue her unbridled tongue, and as an example. 
This sentence is to be made known to her." Then 
the complainant, with his council and witnesses, 
bowed and thanked for this just finding. It was 
made known to Simplicity also. But she gave 
herself up to crying and to wringing of hands. 
Then saying that she had not respected the law, 
they ordered her punishment to be rendered yet 
more severe, and she was seized and led forth to 
punishment. Seeing the injustice that had been 
done, I exclaimed, unable to contain myself : " Oh, 
if all tribunals in the world are as this one, may 
God the Almighty so help me that I may never be 
a judge, or go to law with anyone ! " " Be silent, 
madman," said the interpreter, and he placed his 
fist before my mouth. " On my oath, I say that 
through thy talking thou wilt receive as bad and 
worse punishment than this woman." And, indeed, 
lo ! the plaintiff and Flattery already begin to bring 
forward witnesses against me. Then perceiving 
this, and being afeard, I hurried thence, I know 
not how, scarcely drawing breath. 


(On the Perversity of Lawyers.) 

6. While I then take breath outside these law- 
courts and wipe my eyes, I see many coming to the 
courts bringing plaints, and immediately the advo 
cates (Prattler, Flattery, Guidewrong, Procrastina 
tion, and others), met them and offered their 
services, considering not so much what plaint as 
what purse each man had. Each man carried with 
him carefully his law-book (I think that I had riot 
seen that among the theologians), 1 and sometimes 
looked at it. Now, on some of these books I saw 
inscriptions such as " The Devouring Torment of 
the Land," or " The Rapacious Defraudment of the 
Land." 2 But unable to look at this any longer, I 
went away sighing. 

( The unlimited Power of Princes and tJu 
Stratagems of their Officials) 

7. Then Searchall said to me : " The best yet 
remains. Come and behold the rule of kings, 
princes, and others who reign over their subjects 
by hereditary right ; perhaps this will please thee." 
And we go to another place, and behold, men sat 
there on chairs that were so high and broad that it 

1 The Bohemian word "za"kon," i.e. law, has also the significa 
tion of " Bible " or " Testament." 

2 Komensky s words here are parodies on the names of 
ancient Bohemian law-books. His puns are, unfortunately, 


was rare that anyone could approach them and 
reach them, except by means of strange instru 
ments ; for each one, instead of ears, had long tubes 
on both sides, and those who wished to say some 
thing had to whisper into them. But they were 
crooked and full of holes, and many words escaped 
outward before they reached the head, and those 
that reached it were mostly altered. I marked 
this, because not all who spoke received an answer ; 
at times even when one clamoured loudly enough 
the sound did not penetrate to the brain of the 
ruler. Sometimes, again, an answer was given, but 
it was not to the point. Similarly, instead of the 
eyes and the tongue there were tubes, and, seen 
through them, things often appeared different from 
what they really were, and an answer was given 
that differed from the intentions of the ruler him 
self. Understanding this, I said : " Why, then, do 
they not put away these tubes and see, hear, 
answer with their own eyes, ears, tongue, as plain 
people do ? " " Because of the preciousness of their 
person and the dignity of their rank there must be 
such delaying ceremonies ; or dost thou think they 
are peasants, whose eyes, ears, mouth, everyone 
may approach ? " 

( The Great must have Councillors, however 
inconvenient they may be) 

8. Meanwhile, I see some who walk round the 
thrones ; of these some whisper somewhat into the 
ears of their master by means of these tubes ; others 



place vari-coloured spectacles before his eyes ; 
others burn incense before his nose ; others first 
put his feet closer together, and then again separate 
them ; others adorn and strengthen his throne. 
Seeing this, I ask : " Who are these ? and what do 
they ? " The interpreter answered : " They are the 
privy councillors who instruct the kings and great 
lords." "I should not," quoth I, "allow this if I 
were in their position ; rather should I wish to be 
able to use my own limbs and act as I wished." 
One man said : " He must not take everything on 
his shoulders; nor would he be permitted to do so!" 
Then said I : "These great lords are more wretched 
than peasants, being so bound that they cannot 
even move, except in accordance with the will of 
others." " Yet are they thus more certain in their 
own minds," quoth he ; " but now look at these 
men ! " 

( Without Councillors^ Matters are yet worse.) 

9. And I look back, and behold some of those 
who sat on these chairs did not allow themselves to 
be thus molested, and drove these councillors from 
them ; and this was according to my wishes. But 
here I immediately found other evils. In the place 
of the few that had been driven away, there came 
many others, and they tried to blow and whisper 
into the ears, nose, and mouth of the ruler; to close 
and disclose his eyes in divers fashions ; to stretch 
out his hands and feet now in this, now in that 
direction ; particularly also did each one endeavour 


to lead and draw him to the spot where he himself 
stood. Thus the unhappy lord knew not what to 
do, to whom he should give way, whom he should 
restrain, nor how he could be a match for them all. 
And I said : " I see already that it is better to trust 
a few chosen ones than to be the prey of them all ; 
but could not all this be contrived somewhat 
differently ? " " And how could it be contrived ? " 
quoth he. " The estate of the ruler compels him to 
receive complaints, accusations, petitions, entreat- 
ments, arguments, and counter-arguments from all, 
and to grant justice to all. Let it then be according 
to the customs of these men." 

{Careless Lords.) 

10. Then the interpreter showed me some lords, 

who allowed nobody near them except men who 

strove and worked for the ruler s comfort. And I 

saw that they had around them men who were 

skipping round them, stroking them, placing 

pillows under them, and mirrors before their eyes, 

cooling them with fans, picking up the feathers 

and sweepings around them, kissing their garments 

and shoes ; yet all this was but deceit ; some even 

licked the spittle and snivel that came forth from 

their masters, praising it as being sweet. But all 

this, again, pleased me not ; particularly when I had 

seen that the throne of almost every one of these 

rulers frequently shook, and was, when he least 

expected it, overturned ; for he lacked those trusty 



(A Dangerous Adventure of the Pilgrim.) 

11. Now it befell that in my presence a royal 
throne suddenly shook, 1 broke into bits, and fell to 
the ground. Then I heard noise among the people, 
and looking round, I see that they were leading in 
another prince and seating him on the throne, while 
they joyously declared that things would now be 
different from what they had been before ; and 
everyone, rejoicing, supports and strengthens the 
new throne as much as he can. Now I, thinking it 
well to act for the common welfare (for thus they 
called it), came nearer and contributed 2 a nail or 
two to strengthen the new throne ; for this some 
praised me, while others looked askance at me. 
But meanwhile the other prince recovered himself, 
and he and his men attacked us with cudgels, 
thrashing the whole crowd, till they fled, and many 
even lost their necks. Maddened by fear I almost 
lost consciousness, till my friend Searchall, hearing 
that they were inquiring as to who had aided and 
abetted the other throne, nudged me that I also 
might flee. Falsehood said that it was not neces- 

1 Komensky here alludes to the temporary expulsion of the 
Austrians from Bohemia, the short reign of Frederick of the 
Palatinate, and the subsequent victory of Ferdinand II. of 

2 This allusion to aid given by Komensky to the cause of 
King Frederick is somewhat obscure, as he naturally did not 
refer to it in any of his writings. His sympathies were, of 
course, with the elector Palatine, and his father-in-law 
Cyrillus assisted the President of the Prague Consistory, 
Dicastus, at the coronation of King Frederick. 


sary. While I then reflect which of them I shall 
obey, I am struck by one of the cudgels which they 
were brandishing near ; then I recovered conscious 
ness, and I hastily fly into a corner. Thus did I 
understand that to sit on these chairs, to be near 
them, or indeed to touch them in any way, is 
dangerous. Then I went forth from here most 
gladly, and I resolved never again to return. And 
thus spake I to my guides : " Let him, who will, 
approach these heights. I shall not do so." 

(There is Disorder everywhere among Men.} 

12. And I was yet more certain of this when I 
discovered that though these men wished to be 
called the world-rulers, yet everything was full of 
unruliness. For whether the prince permitted his 
subjects to communicate with him through the 
tubes, or whether he delivered his decrees by means 
of the whispers of others, I saw as much evil as 
justice ; I heard as much groaning and lamentation 
as merriment ; I found that justice was inter 
meddled with injustice, and violence with legality. 
I clearly understood that the town-halls, the law- 
courts, the chanceries are as much the workshops 
of falsehood as of righteousness, and that those who 
call themselves the defenders of order in the world 
are as much (and often more) the defenders of dis 
order than of order. And wondering how much 
vanity and glittering misery is concealed within 
this estate, I took leave of these men and went 



(The Cruelty of Man.) 

WE then enter the last street, and on the first 
market-place I see no few men clothed in red ; 
approaching them, I hear that they are deliber 
ating among themselves as to how they could give 
wings to Death, so that she could in a moment 
penetrate everywhere both near and far ; item, how 
that which had been built during many years could 
be destroyed in an hour. And I become afeard on 
hearing such speech, for hitherto, wherever I had 
looked at the deeds of men, the education and the 
increase of mankind, and the furthering of the 
comforts of human life, had alone been talked of 
and striven for. But these men deliberated on the 
destruction of the lives and of the comforts of men. 
Then the interpreter said : " The endeavours of 
these men also tend to that purpose, but by a some 
what differentipath to wit, they remove that which 

is harmful. Later thou wilt understand this." 



2. Meanwhile we come to a gate, where, instead 
of gate-keepers, there stood some with drums, who 
asked each one who wished to enter whether he 
had a purse. Then when he showed and opened 
it, they put some silver into it, and said : " Let 
this hide be considered as paid for." Then they 
bid the man enter what appeared to be a vault, 
and atterwards again conducted him out, loaded 
with iron and fire-arms ; then they ordered him to 
proceed farther into the market-place. 

( The Arsenal, or Armoury^ 

And now becoming desirous to see what was in 
this vault, I immediately enter it. And behold, 
there lay there on the ground an endless mass of 
cruel weapons that thousands of carts could not 
have transported. There were weapons for 
stabbing, chopping, cutting, pricking, hacking, 
stinging, cutting down, tearing, burning ; there 
were altogether so many instruments destined to 
destroy life, fashioned out of iron, lead, wood, and 
stone, that terror befell me, and I exclaimed : 
" Against what wild beasts are they preparing all 
these things ? " Against men," the interpreter 
answered. " Against men ! " quoth I. " Alas ! I 
had thought it was against some mad animal, or 
wild, furious beasts. But, in the name of God, 
what cruelty this is that men should devise such 


terrible things against other men ! " " Thou art 
too fastidious," he said, laughing. 

( The Life of Soldiers is licentious^} 

4. And going onward, we come to a market-place, 
where I see herds of these men who were clothed 
in iron, and had horns and claws, and were fettered 
together in troops. They were crouching before 
what seemed troughs and jugs, into which that 
which they were to eat and drink was strewn and 
poured out for them ; and they, one after the other, 
gobbled and lapped it up. And I said : " Are hogs, 
then, being here fattened for butchery ? I see, 
indeed, the appearances of men, but swinish deeds." 
" That is no inconvenience for men of that estate," 
said the interpreter. Meanwhile, they rise from 
these troughs, give themselves to frolics and danc 
ing, skipping and shouting. And the interpreter 
further : " Well, dost thou see the delights of this 
life ? About what need they be anxious ? Is it 
not merry to be here ? " "I shall await what will 
befall later," quoth I. But they now begin to 
pursue and harry every man whom they met, who 
was not of their own estate. Then, wallowing on 

the earth, they committed and every infamy, 

without any shame or fear of God. Then I blushed 
and said : " Assuredly they should not be allowed 
to do this." " They must be allowed," said the 
interpreter, " for this estate claims much liberty." 
They then sat down and began to gobble, and after 
they had crammed themselves with food and drink 


till they were speechless, they stretched themselves 
out on the earth and snored. Then they were led 
into the market-place, where rain, snow, hail, frost, 
sleet, thirst, hunger, and every sort of filth rained 
on them. Then no few trembled, panted, tottered, 
perished, the food of all dogs and crows. Yet 
others heeded not, and continued to revel. 

(Description of a Battle?) 

5. Then suddenly the drums beat, the trumpet 
resounds ; then behold, all rise up, seize daggers, 
cutlasses, bayonets, or whatever they have, and 
strike mercilessly at one another, till blood spurts 
out. They hack and hew at one another more 
savagely than the most savage animals. Then the 
cries increase in every direction ; one could hear 
the tramping of horses, the clashing of armour, the 
clattering of swords, the growl of the artillery, the 
whistle of shots and bullets round our ears, the 
sound of trumpets, the crash of drums, the cries 
of those who urged on the soldiers, the shouting of 
the victors, the shrieking of the wounded and 
dying. An awful leaden hail-storm could be seen ; 
dreadful fiery thunder and lightning could be 
heard ; now this, now that man s arm, head, leg 
flew away; here one fell over the other, while 
everything swam in blood. "Almighty God," 
quoth I, " what is happening ? Must the whole 
world perish ? " 

Hardly had I somewhat recovered consciousness 
than I fled this spot, I know not how, nor whither 


I went. When I had somewhat recovered my 
breath, I said, though still trembling, to my guides : 
"Whither, then, have you led me?" The in 
terpreter answered : " Oh, on thee, effeminate one ! 
To let others feel your power, that is what makes 
a man of you." "What have they then done to 
each other ? " I said. He answered : " The lords 
fell out, and then the matter had to be settled." 
"What! do these men then settle it?" quoth I. 
"Certainly," the interpreter answered, "by such 
means ; for who could make great lords, kings, and 
kingdoms that have no judge above them agree ? 
They must decide the differences between them by 
means of the sword. He who surpasses the other 
in the usage of iron and fire takes the first place." 
" Oh, barbarity ! oh, beastliness ! " quoth I. " Was 
there then no other way to reconcile them ? Wild 
beasts should thus settle their differences, not 

( Those who remain after the Battle?) 

6. Meanwhile, I see that they lead and carry from 
the battlefield many whose hands, arms, head, nose 
had been cut off, whose bodies had been trans 
pierced, whose skin was in tatters, and who were 
everywhere dabbled with blood. While I could, 
from pity, scarce look at these men, the interpreter 
said : " All this will be healed ; a soldier must be 
hardy." " What, then," quoth I, " of those who lost 
their lives here ? " He answered : " Their hides had 
already been paid for." " How this ? " said I. 


" Hast thou, then, not seen how many pleasant 
things were previously granted them ? " " And 
what unpleasant things also had they to endure ? " 
quoth I ; " and even if only delights had previously 
been their lot, it is a wretched thing to give food 
to a man only that he may be forced to go to the 
shambles directly afterwards. It is an ugly estate 
in any case. I like it not ! I like it not ! Let us 
go hence." 



(Wherefore Nobility and Coats-of-Arms are given.) 

" LOOK now," said the interpreter, " what honour 
he receives who demeans himself bravely, and 
fights his way through swords and spears, arrows 
and bullets." Then they lead me to what appeared 
a palace, and here I see one who sat under a 
baldachin, and called to him some of those who 
bore them bravely in fight. And many came 
carrying with them skulls, crossbones, ribs, fists 
that they had hewed off the bodies of their enemies, 
and pouches and purses that they had taken from 
them. They were praised for this, and he who sat 
under the baldachin gave them a painted thing, 1 
and peculiar liberties above the others. They 
carried these things on poles, so that all could see 

(Others also crowd into this Estate) 

2. Seeing this, many, not only warriors as in the 
olden days, but others also who busied themselves 

I.e., coats-of-arms. 


with trade or book came forward, and unable to 
show wounds and goods taken from the enemy, as 
the others did, they drew out and presented their 
own purses, or writings which had been up into 
books. And to them also such things were given 
as to the others indeed, frequently more gorgeous 
ones ; and then they were admitted into a higher 

( The Splendour of Knights?) 

3. Entering behind them, I see bands of them 
who were walking together ; they had feathers on 
their heads, spurs on their heels, and steel around 
their hips. I did not approach them closely, and I 
did well so. For I soon saw that others who 
meddled with them fared not well; for those 
who approached them too closely, who did not 
sufficiently make room for them, who did not bend 
their knees to them sufficiently, who knew not how 
to pronounce their titles sufficiently correctly, these 
they struck with their fists. Fearing that this 
would befall me also, I begged that we might go 
thence. But Searchall said : " First look better at 
them, but be careful." 

(Knightly Deeds.} 

4. So I look from a distance and behold their 
deeds. Then I see that their work (as they said 
because of the privileges of their estate) consisted 
in treading the pavement, sitting astride on the 


back of a horse, hunting greyhounds, hares and 
wolves, driving the serfs to soccage, 1 placing them 
in towers, 2 and then again letting them out, sitting 
at long tables laden with divers dishes, and keeping 
their feet under them as long as possible, bowing 
daintily and kissing hands, playing skilfully at 
draughts or dice, prattling without shame of all 
obscene and lewd matters, and other such things. 
It was, they said, assured to them by their 
privileges that all they did should be called noble, 
and no one who was not a man of honour should 
assort with them. Some also measured each other s 
shields, 3 comparing the one with the other ; and the 
greater and the more antiquated a man s shield was, 
the more was he esteemed. But if a man bore a 
new one, the others shook their heads over him. 
I saw much more there that appeared to me 
wondrous and absurd, but I may not tell every 
thing. This only will I say, that after looking 
sufficiently at the vanities of these men, I again 
begged my guides to proceed elsewhere, and I 
obtained their consent. 

( The Road to the Castle of Fortune?) 

5. While we proceed, the interpreter says to me : 
" Well, now, thou hast beheld the labour and striv 
ing of men, and nothing has pleased thee ; perhaps 

1 In Bohemian, "robota," the enforced labour which the 
Bohemian lords demanded of their serfs. 

2 I.e., prisons. 

3 I.e., coats-of-arms. 


because thou hast thought that these men have 
naught but labour. Learn then now, that all these 
labours are the way that leads to that rest to which 
all who shirked not toil at last attain ; for when 
they obtain estates and wealth, or glory and 
honour, or comfort and pleasure, their minds have 
sufficient cause to rejoice. Therefore, then, will we 
now guide thee to this delightful castle, that thou 
mayest see what is the purpose of the labours of 
men." And I rejoiced at this, hoping to find there 
rest of the mind and consolation. 



WHEN we drew near to the gate, I see a multitude 
of men in the market-place to the left, and Impu 
dence says : " Lo ! these also we must not ornit." 
" What have they there ? " quoth I. He answered : 
" Come and see." And we walk among them, and, 
behold, they stood there, two or three together ; and 
one pointed with his finger at the other, averted 
his head, clapped his hands, scratched himself 
behind his ears. Finally some skip for joy ; 
others cry. " What, then," quoth I, " are these 
men doing here ? Are they acting a play of 
some fashion ? " " Thou must by no means take 
such things for a play," said the interpreter ; 
" they have real things before them, which, accord 
ing to the manner in which they are fashioned, 
produce within them wonder, laughter, ire." " Yet 
would I gladly know what these things are at 
which they wonder, at which they laugh, and 
which cause their ire." Then gazing attentively, 
I behold that they were busying themselves with 
strange whistles, and that one man, bending 
towards the other, whistled somewhat into his 
ear ; and w r hen this piping was pleasing they 

rejoiced, and when it was doleful they were sad. 


( These Whistles have divers Sounds?) 

2. This also seemed wondrous, that the same 
whistles pleased some vastly that they refrained 
not from skipping for joy ; to others the same 
sound appeared so grievous that they held their 
ears and ran away into corners, or they listened 
and then began to lament and cry bitterly. And 
I said : " This is a monstrous thing, that one and 
the same whistle should sound so sweet to some, 
and so bitter to others." The interpreter said : " It 
is the difference not of the sound, but of the hear 
ing, that causes this. As one and the same medicine 
acts differently on patients according to their sick 
ness, so also according to a man s inward passion 
and inclination to a thing the exterior sound of it 
appears either sweet or bitter." 

( The Limping Messenger?) 

3. " And where do they find these whistles ? " 
" They bring them from everywhere," he said. 
" Seest thou not the vendors ? " Then I look, and 
see that some walked and rode out who were 
appointed to carry about these whistles. Many of 
these rode forth on speedy horses, and many bought 
of them ; others went on foot, and some even limped 
along on crutches, and prudent men bought rather 
from these, believing them to be trustworthy. 1 

1 The "limping messenger" was a proverbial expression 
signifying "later news." At that period when communi 
cations were uncertain and difficult, the later news often 
contradicted that which had been first reported. 



(The Delight of News-letters^ 

4. Not only did I look at them, but I also lis 
tened myself, stopping at divers spots ; and I under 
stood that there was truly some pleasure in hearing 
the divers sounds that proceeded from various 
directions. But it pleased me not that some acted 
in an immoderate fashion, for they bought up all 
the whistles that they could obtain; then after 
having used them for a short time, they again 
threw them away. There were also men of divers 
estates who sat but rarely at home, and were ever 
on the watch in the market-place, ever giving their 
ears to that which was piped there. 

(The Vanity of News-writing) 

5. Yet all this pleased me not when I saw the 
vanity of the thing ; for sometimes a doleful note 
resounded, so that all grieved ; then after a while 
a different sound was heard, and the terror turned 
to laughter. Some notes clang so sweetly that all 
rejoiced and exulted ; but there soon came a change. 
The sound either ceased or turned to a mournful 
rattle ; thus those who were guided by it often 
rejoiced and grieved over many things vainly, and 
it was but smoke. 1 It was therefore a cause of 
laughter that men allowed themselves to be de 
ceived by every gust of wind. Therefore I praised 
those who, heeding not such folly, looked only to 
their work. 

1 I.e., mystification. 


(There is Discomfort both with and without 

6. But then, again, I beheld discomfort also 
among those who heeded not that which was piped 
around them. From every direction many things 
fell on their necks. 1 At last I see here this also 
that it was not safe for all to use these whistles. 
For as these sounds appeared different to different 
ears, disputes and scuffles arose therefrom ; and I 
myself met with an accident. 2 Having found a 
sharp-sounding whistle, I gave it to a friend ; then 
others seizing it threw it to the ground and stamped 
on it. Then they threatened me for having 
divulged such things, and seeing how furious and 
inflamed they were, I was obliged to flee. But as 
my guides ever solaced me with the thought of the 
Castle of Fortune, we went on towards it. 

1 1.e., they were accused of various things. 

2 It is very probable that this is an allusion to some adven 
ture of the author, of which otherwise nothing is known. He 
appears to have been accused of divulging secret news. It 
was not in the nature of a man such as Komensky to be 
always cautious. 



( Virtue is now but a Ruined Gate to Fame.) 

Now when we approach this our dear castle, I first 
see crowds of men who were streaming thitherward 
from all the streets of the town ; they walked 
round, endeavouring to spy out how they could 
reach the summit. Now to that castle only one lofty 
narrow gate led, but it had fallen into ruins, was 
covered up with earth, and overgrown with thorns. 
It was, meseems, called Virtue. Concerning it I 
was told that in olden times it had been built as 
the sole entrance to the castle, but that through 
some accident it had soon afterwards been covered 
up with earth ; therefore some other smaller gates 
had been made, while this one was abandoned as 
being inaccessible and too difficult to enter. 

(The Side Entrances.) 

2. They therefore broke through the walls and 
made small gates at both sides, and looking at them 
I see on them inscriptions such as Hypocrisy, Lie, 


Flattery, Vice, Cunning, Violence, and so forth. 
But when I called the gates by these names, those 
who were entering heard me ; then were they in 
censed against me, grumbled, and wanted to throw 
me down, so that I had to keep my mouth closed. 
Then looking again, I saw that some still attempted 
to climb upward by the ancient gate through 
ruins and thorns. Some succeeded ; others did not, 
and these returned to the side entrances, that were 
lower, and passed through them. 

(Fortuna raises up those on whom by chance she 

3. Now I enter and see that this was not yet 
the castle, but that here also there was a market 
place, in which stood a crowd of people, who were 
looking anxiously at the palaces above them, and 
heaving sighs. When I asked what they were 
doing there, I was told that these were men who 
claimed to be admitted to the abode of the gracious 
Lady Fortuna, and who were waiting for a glance 
from her and for admission to her castle. " And 
are they not all to reach it? Surely all have 
striven bravely for that purpose ! " The interpreter 
answered : " Each one may strive to the best of his 
power and knowledge ; but in the end it depends 
on the Lady Fortuna, whom she wishes to receive 
and whom not. Thou mayest indeed wonder at 
the fashion in which it is done." Then I see that 
beyond the spot where I was standing there were 
no longer either gates or steps, but only a wheel, 


that incessantly turned round and round ; he who 
clung to it was lifted upward to a higher floor, here 
only received by the Lady Fortuna, and then per 
mitted to proceed farther. But of those below, not 
everyone who wished to seize the wheel was 
allowed to do so; indeed, they only whom a 
functionary of Fortuna, named Chance, led to the 
wheel or placed on it; all others slipped. Now 
this administrator, Chance, walked in the midst of 
the crowd, and whom fortuitously she encountered, 
him she seized and placed on the wheel : even 
although some thrust themselves before her eyes, 
stretched out their hands and entreated her, alleging 
the hardships they had undergone : their sweat, 
weals, slashes, and other proofs of their toil. But 
I affirm that she must have been entirely deaf and 
blind, 1 for neither did she consider any person nor 
heed anyone s entreaties. 

( The Evil Case of those who seek Felicity?) 

4. There were many there of divers estate who, 
I knew, had grudged nor labour, nor sweat, both 
in fulfilling their duties and in endeavouring to 
pass through the gate of Virtue, or, indeed, through 
the side entrance also; yet could they obtain 
felicity ? Another who thought not of such matters 
was taken by the hand and lifted upward. But of 

i Comp. " Verum quam significationem habet ista mulier, 
quse opinionem facit quod caeca sit ac mente capta ? Insistit 
autem lapidi rotundo," Hsec, " respondit Fortuna est. Nee 
csaca tantummodo est, sed surda etiam." " Tabula Cebetis. J 


those who were waiting here, many greatly grieved 
that their turn never came, and some even became 
grey-haired. Some, abandoning all hope of happi 
ness, returned to their toilsome labours ; then some 
of these were again seized with the same longing, 
again climbed upwards towards the castle, turning 
their eyes and hands in the direction of the Lady 
Fortuna. Thus I learnt that the fate of these dis 
appointed ones was in all cases wretched and 


(The Pilgrim beholds the Ways of the Wealthy^ 

THEN I said to my guide : " Now would I gladly 
see what there is on high, and how the Lady 
Fortuna honours her guests." " It is well," said he, 
and before I knew it we soared upward to where 
the Lady Fortuna, standing on a globe, distributed 
crowns, sceptres, commands, chains, buckles, purses, 
titles and names, honey and sweetmeats ; and she 
then only allowed them to proceed upward. Now 
looking at the construction of the castle, which 
consisted of three floors, I see that they conduct 
some to the lower, others to the middle, others 
again to the upper dwellings. Then the interpreter 
said to me : " Here, in the lowest chambers, dwell 
those whom the Lady Fortuna hath endowed with 
gold and with goods; in the middle chambers dwell 
those whom she feeds with pleasure ; in the highest 
palaces those reside whom she invests with glory, 
that they may be observed, praised, honoured by 
the others. Thou seest what a happy thing it is 
for a man to succeed in coming here." 

(The Fetters and Burdens of Wealth^ 

2. "Let us then, by all means, go first among these 
men," quoth I. Then we enter the lower chambers, 


and behold, there was darkness there and gloom ; 
indeed, at first I saw scarcely anything, and heard 
but some clinking; and the stink of mould proceed 
ing from all directions overcame me. Then when 
I somewhat recovered my eyesight, I see that the 
chamber was full of people of all ranks, who 
walked, stood, sat, reclined, and each man s feet 
were loaded with fetters, and his hands bound with 
chains; some had also beside this a chain round 
their neck, and on their back a burden of some 
sort. And I was afeard, and I said : " On my 
faith, have we then come to some prison-house ? " 
The interpreter answered, laughing : " What folly ! 
These are the gifts of the Lady Fortuna, with 
which she endows her beloved sons." And looking 
first at one, then a second, then a third of these 
gifts, I see steely fetters, iron chains, and leaden or 
earthen crates. " What strange gifts are these ! " 
quoth I. " I should not desire them ! " " But, oh 
fool ! thou seest not rightly," said the interpreter ; 
" for all this is sheer gold." And I look again yet 
more carefully, and tell him that I none the less see 
there but iron and clay. " Cavil not too much," he 
answered, " believe others rather then thyself ; see 
how the others value these things." 

(How the Rich are deceived^) 

3. And I look, and see to my surprise how these 
men delighted in being thus fettered ; this one 
counted the rings of his chain ; another took them 


asunder, and then again collected them ; another 
weighed his chain in his hand ; another measured 
it by the span ; another took it to his mouth and 
kissed it ; another covered it with a kerchief to pre 
serve it against frost, heat, and injury. Sometimes 
two or three met together, measured their chains, 
and weighed them one against the other. He who 
found his chain the lighter one grieved and envied 
his neighbour. He who had a larger and heavier 
one strutted about, puffing himself up, boasting arid 
talking vaingloriously. Yet some, again, sat quietly 
in corners, rejoicing secretly only over their chains 
and fetters ; for they wished not that others 
should know of them, fearing, methought, enmity 
and thievery. Others, again, had trunks full of 
clods and stones, which they carried with them 
from place to place. Others did not even put their 
trust in such trunks ; they fastened and hung so 
many precious goods around their person that they 
could neither stand nor walk, but merely crept 
along gasping and panting. Then seeing this, I 
said: "Are these, then, in the name of all the saints, 
to be called happy ? Even when I beheld the labour 
and striving of men, I saw nothing more wretched 
than this happiness ! " Searchall said : " It is true 
(why should I conceal it ?) that merely to possess 
Fortuna s gifts, and not to use them, gives more 
anxiety than pleasure." " But this is not the fault 
of the Lady Fortuna," quoth the interpreter, " that 
some know not how to use her gifts. She is not 
chary of her goods, but some misers know not how 


to employ them either for their benefit or for that 
of others. Lastly, be it as it may, it is great 
happiness to possess riches." " I desire not such 
happiness as I see here," I said. 



(Effeminate Voluptuaries^ 

SEARCHALL said : " Let us then go upward ; there 
wilt thou behold other things, delights only." And 
we mount the steps and enter the first hall ; and 
behold, there were here rows of couches that were 
suspended in the air, and rocked to and fro ; and 
they were bestrewed with soft cushions. Now 
on these couches some men wallowed who had 
around them a large crowd of servants, ready to 
render them all services, and carrying fly-flaps, fans, 
and other implements. If one of these men arose, 
hands were stretched out from all directions to 
assist him ; if he robed himself, soft silken gar 
ments only were handed to him ; if he had to go 
somewhere, he was carried on a chair bestrewed 
with pillows. 1 " Well, here hast thou that comfort 
which thou hast sought," said the interpreter. 
" What more canst thou desire ? To have so many 
good things that you need not heed anything ; to 
put your hand to no labour; to have a plenitude of 
^.e. a litter. 



all things for which the mind craves; and to be not 
even touched by a breath of cold or evil air, is not 
that a blessed state ? " I answered: " There is indeed 
more merriness here than in those torture-chambers 
below ; but here, also, not everything pleaseth me." 
" Of what dost thou again complain ? " quoth he. I 
said: "I see these idlers with prominent eyes 
bloated faces, swollen bellies and limbs, that cannot 
be touched, and seem full of sores. If someone 
knocks or rubs against one of them, or an evil 
wind blows, incontinently the man sickens. Often 
have I heard that standing water rots and stinks, 
but here I see instances of it. Thus these men 
employ not their life ; they sleep through it, and 
they lounge ] through it. This is naught for me." 
" Thou art a wondrous philosopher," quoth the 

(Games and Plays.} 

2. Then they lead me to a second hall, where 
everything appeared charming to the eyes and 
ears. I behold delightful gardens, fishponds, and 
parks, wild beasts, birds, fishes, sweet music of 
divers sorts, and groups of merry companions who 
skipped, ran after each other, danced, pursued 
each other, fenced together, performed plays ; and 
I know not what else they did. " This, at least, is 
not standing water," said the interpreter. " That 

i If the word " to loaf " were a recognised one in the English 
language, it would convey Komensky s meaning better than 
any other. 


is true ; but let me look at these things." Then 
when I had looked, I said : " I see that no one 
is thoroughly satisfied } with these amusements ; 
rather does each one soon become tired, and hurry 
elsewhere to seek enjoyment in something else. 
Therefore this seems to me but small delight." " If, 
then, thou seekest delight in food and drink, let us 
go there, where they can be found." 

( The Revellers?) 

3. Then we enter a third hall, and lo ! I see the 
loaded tables and boards of the feasters, who had 
an abundance of all things before them, and made 
merry. Stepping near to them, I see how some 
continually cram and pour down food and drink, 
so that their bellies sufficed not ; they had to 
loosen their belts. Others . . . . ; others picked 
out only dainty bits, smacking their lips, and 
wished that they had necks as long as that of 
a crane, so that they might enjoy the taste 
longer. Some boasted that for ten or twenty years 
they had never seen the sun either rise or set, 
because when it set they had never been sober any 
longer; and when it rose, they had never yet 
become sober again. They sat there, by no means 
mournfully, for divers music resounded, to which 
each man joined his own voice ; thus songs, as of 
all birds and beasts, were heard : one howled, a 
second roared, a third crowed, a fourth barked, a 

1 Literally eats and drinks to sufficiency ("ne naji a ne 
napije "). This explains the interpreter s answer. 


fifth chirped, a sixth twittered, a seventh croaked ; 
and so forth ; and at the same time they made 
strange grimaces. 

( What Fare the Pilgrim had among the Feasters.} 

4. And then the interpreter asked me how I 
liked this harmony. " Not a bit," I said. Then 
he said : " What, then, will please thee ? Art thou, 
then, a log of wood, that not even this merriment 
can enliven thee ? " Meanwhile, some of those who 
sat round the tables see me; and one began to 
drink my health, a second winked at me with his 
eye, inviting me to sit down with them ; a third 
began to cross-question me as to who I was and 
what I wanted ; a fourth asked me, in a menacing 
manner, why I did not say : " May God bless 
you ! " * Then becoming incensed, I said : " What, 
is God then to bless this swinish feasting ? " Then, 
lo ! before I had even finished my speech, plates, 
dishes, goblets, and glasses begin to hail down upon 
me ; I was hardly able to escape them, and to 
hurry forth hastily. But it was easier for me, who 
was sober, to flee, than for those drunkards to 
strike me. Then the interpreter said : " Well, did 
I not say to thee long ago : Keep thy tongue 
within thy teeth and cavil not. Strive to conduct 
thyself according to man s way, and do not imagine 
that others will heed thy noddle ! " 2 

1 It was customary in Bohemia to speak these words when 
entering a room or when sitting down to table. 
* I.e., pay attention to thy ideas. 


(The Pilgrim returns to the Hall.) 

5. Impudence smiled, and taking me by the 
hand, " Let us go there again," he said ; but I 
would not. " Thou must, and canst yet behold 
these many things, if thou art but silent. Come, 
only act prudently, keeping somewhat aloof." 
And I allow myself to be persuaded, and enter 
again ; and why should I deny it ? I sat down 
among these men, allowed them to drink to me, and 
also pledged them, wishing at last to discover in 
what these delights consisted. I also began to sing 
and skip, and shout with the others ; in every way 
what they did, I did. Yet did I all this somewhat 
timidly, for it appeared to me that this was by no 
means fitting for me. Then some who saw that I 
did not excel in this laughed at me, while others 
were angered that I did not pledge them. But 
meanwhile, something under my coat begins to 
prick me, something under my cap stings me, 
something presses up my throat, my legs begin to 
stagger, my tongue rattles, and my head whirls 
round. I now become incensed against myself and 
m y guides, and declare that this was conduct 
befitting not men, but beasts ; particularly after I 
had witnessed in others the voluptuousness of the 

(The Wretched Ways of Voluptuaries.) 

6. Then I heard some complaining that they 
could neither relish food nor drink, nor bring them 


down their throats ; others pitied these men and, 
to help them, merchants had to hurry to all parts 
of the world in search of things that might be to 
the taste of these men ; cooks had to examine 
samples of spices, that were to give the dainties a 
peculiar smell, colour, taste, and aid in conveying 
them into the stomachs of these ; doctors had . . . 
Thus with much trouble and expense that which 
was to be poured and crammed into them 1 was 
sought out, and with much learning and cunning 
given unto them, causing them much pain in the 
stomach and elsewhere. And thus they constantly 
suffered of sickness . . . ; they slept badly, 
hemmed, sneezed, slobbered, and vomited ; the 
tables and corners of the hall were full of divers 
filth ; they walked and wallowed about with . . . , 
podagric feet, trembling hands, blear eyes, and so 
forth. " Are such things, then, to be considered 
pleasures ? " quoth I. " Let us hence, that I may 
not say somewhat, and evil befall me there 
through." Then averting my eyes and stopping 
my nose, I went thence. 

( Veneris Regnum. Libidinis cestus Morb. . . 
Libido desperationis Prcecipetium. . . .) 


1 I.e., medicines. 



(The Discomforts of the Great.) 

WE now enter the higher palace, that was quite 
open, having above it no covering but the firma 
ment. And behold, there were here many seats, 
some of which were higher than the others; all 
were close to the verge that they might be seen 
from the city below. Men sat on them, some 
higher and some lower, according to the manner in 
which the Lady Fortuna had placed them. All 
passers-by gave them honour (though but 
ostensibly), bent their knees and bowed their 
heads. And the interpreter said to me : " Is it 
not a fine thing to be so exalted that you are seen 
from everywhere, and all have to gaze on you ? " 
And I added : " And also to be so exposed that 
snow, rain, hail, heat, and cold strike at you." He 
answered : " What mattereth that ? It is, indeed, 
a fine thing to be on such a spot, in which you 
attract the attention of all, and wherein all must 
notice you." " They do, indeed, watch them," 
quoth I; "but such watching is far more of a 

burden than of a comfort. That many watch for 


these men, I already see ; they may not and 
cannot move without all seeing them and passing 
judgment on them. What comfort is there in 
this ? " I felt the more certain of this when I saw 
that if before them great respect was rendered to 
them, there was behind them and at their sides 
just as much disrespect. Then also behind each of 
those who was seated on his throne there stood 
some who looked asquint at him, muttered about 
him, and shook their heads over him, mocked him, 
soiled his back with spittle, snivel, and other 
matters ; others, contriving his fall, undermined his 
throne, and in my presence this and other accidents 
befell full many. 

(The Dangers of the Great.} 

2. Now these seats, as I have said, stood on the 
verge ; if one of them was pushed even very 
slightly, it was immediately overturned, and he 
who previously puffed himself up now fell down 
ward. 1 The seats were so unstable that if anyone 
touched them they turned over, and he who sat 
there found himself on the ground. The higher 
a seat was, the easier it was to shake it. I 
found also much malice among these men. They 
looked at one another jealously ; some drove 
others from their thrones, deprived them of their 
ruling powers, knocked off their crowns, blotted 
out their titles. Thus everything was ever chang- 

1 It has been impossible to render Komensky s pun on the 
words " k doutij (to swell or puff) and " dolu " (downward). 


ing ; one climbed up to a throne, 1 another either 
crept down or fell down over heels. Beholding 
this, I said : " Oh, this is evil, that the reward of 
the long and hard toil that these men had to 
endure before they secured these seats should be 
so short ! Indeed, before a man has begun to 
enjoy his honours they have already come to an 
end." The interpreter answered : " The Lady For- 
tuna must distribute her gifts in this fashion, that 
all whom she wishes to favour may receive their 
share ; one must give way to the other. 

1 This passage is very characteristic of the period of the 
Thirty Years War, and its sudden changes of Government. 
Thus Frederick of the Palatinate for a time took the place 
of Ferdinand of Austria as ruler of Bohemia ; Wallenstein 
became Duke of Mecklenburg ; Bernhard of Weimar 
attempted to establish his sovereignty on the banks of the 
Upper Rhine. 


(Fama ferme vulgi Opinione constat.) 

" BESIDES," the interpreter further said, " the Lady 
Fortuna can also honour by immortality those who 
bear themselves well in the world, or whose merits 
deserve such a reward." " How, then, is this ? " 
quoth I. " That is, indeed, a glorious thing to 
become immortal ! Show it me, then." And 
Searchall bids me turn round, and shows me a 
yet higher hall or balcony that projected to west 
ward from the palace ; it was also uncovered, and 
from the lower hall steps led up to it. At the 
foot of the steps there was a small door, at which 
sat one who had eyes and ears all over his body, 
so that it was monstrous (they called him Censuram 
vulgi, Judgeall). To him each one who wished to 
enter the hall of glory had to declare his name, and 
also to show all the things through which he hoped 
to be worthy of immortality, and hand them over 
for examination. Now, when in the man s deeds 
there was something singular and unusual, be it 
good or bad, they allowed him to go upward ; if 
not, he was left below. Now, those that arrived 
at that gate were mostly of the estates of rulers, 
warriors, scholars ; a few only were theologians, 

tradesmen, husbandmen. 



(Indignis quoque confertur. Herostratus.} 

2. Then it vexed me much that they admitted 
as many evil-doers (robbers, tyrants, adulterers, 
murderers, incendiaries, and so forth) as they did 
good men. Then I understood that this could but 
encourage the perverse in their vices ; and, indeed, 
it befell that one arrived claiming immortality who, 
asked what deed worthy of immortal memory he 
had done, replied that he had destroyed the most 
glorious thing in the world of which he knew ; for 
he had purposely burnt down a temple on which 
seventeen kingdoms had during three centuries 
bestowed much labour and expense, and wrought 
its destruction in one day. Then this man Censura 
was amazed at such infamous audacity, and, judg 
ing him unworthy, would not allow him to pro 
ceed. But the Lady Fortuna came and ordered 
that he should be admitted. Then, encouraged 
by this example, others enumerated all the awful 
deeds which they had committed. One said that 
he had shed as much human blood as he could; 
another imagined a new form of blasphemy j 
another said that he had sentenced God to 
death ; yet another said that he had torn down 
the sky from the firmament, and immersed it in an 
abyss ; yet another had founded a new association 
of incendiaries and murderers through which the 
race of men was to be destroyed, and so forth. 
And all these were allowed to mount upward, 
which, I may say, greatly displeased me. 


(The Vanity of Fame.} 

3. Yet 1 followed them upward, and, behold, here 
an official of the Lady Fortuna, yclept Fama or 
Rumour, received them, and he consisted entirely 
of mouths. Indeed, as the one beneath 1 was full of 
eyes and ears, thus this one was all over full of 
mouths and tongues, from which no little sound 
and noise came forth; and this clear "Immortalitatis 
candidatus " derived at least that advantage there 
from, that through this noise his name became 
known far and wide. Now when I watched this 
somewhat carefully, I saw that the outcry that at 
first was raised over the name of each of these men 
first decreased and then ceased entirely, while cries 
referring to someone else were heard. "What 
immortality, then, is this ? " quoth I ; " each man 
abides here but for a span, then he again drifts 
away from theeyes, the mouths, the minds of men." 
The interpreter answered : " Thou dost belittle 
everything ; but look, at least, at these men." 

( What Honour is there in figuring in History ?) 

4. Then looking around, I behold painters who 
were sitting and gazing at these men and portray 
ing them ; then I asked : " Why do they this ? " 
The interpreter answered : " That their names may 
not pass away and vanish as a voice ; the memory 
of these men will endure." Then I gaze, and lo ! 
1 I.e., Censura. 


each one of those who had been painted was then 
thrown into the abyss, just as the others ; they left 
but the image, and that they placed on a pole, that 
it might be seen by all. " What immortality, then, 
is this ? * I said. " They leave here only the paper 
and the ink with which the man s name is daubed 
on the paper. The man himself perishes as 
miserably as other men. This is but deceit dear 
God, deceit ! What is that to me that one bedaubs 
me 1 on paper, if, meanwhile, I know not what 
befalls me. I give no import to this." Hearing 
this, the interpreter chides me as a madman, and 
asks me what purpose there is in the world for one 
whose thoughts were thus contrary to those of all 

(In History also there is much Falsehood^) 

5. Then I was silent, and lo ! I discover a new 
falsehood. The image of one whom in life I had 
seen well shaped and handsome, was deformed ; on 
the other hand, I saw that they had made the most 
beautiful image they could of one who was hideous; 
they made two, three, four images of one man, and 
each one was different ; therefore both the careless 
ness and the faithlessness of these painters enraged 
me. I witness also the vanity of all this. For 
when I look at these pictures I see that many were 
so antiquated, dust-covered, mouldy, rotten, that 
one could recognise little or nothing at all ; some 
could in the number hardly be distinguished from 
1 Ze., my name. 


the others 1 at some hardly anyone looked. This, 
then, is fame ! 

( The Memorials of the Great also perish?} 

6. Meanwhile, Fortuna appeared, and ordered 
that some images, not only old and faded, but also 
new and fresh ones, should be thrown downward ; 
then I understood that, just as this dear 2 immor 
tality in itself is nothing, so also because of the 
mad fickleness of Fortuna (for she receives some 
in her castle, and then again expels them from it), 
no triist can be put in her ; thus she and her gifts 
became more and more distasteful to me. For she 
dealt in the same fashion also with her sons when 
she walked about in her castle ; to the voluptuous 
she sometimes gave delights, and then again took 
them from them ; similarly she now granted the 
rich men riches ; now deprived them of them ; 
sometimes she took all from one and threw him 
downward out of her castle. 

( Then Death at last destroyed all.) 

7. Death also increased my terror when I saw 
her arrive at the castle, and remove now one man, 
now another, but in clivers fashions. She shot at 
the rich with her usual arrows, or creeping towards 
them she strangled and suffocated them by means 

1 Every student of history will be struck by the accuracy 
of this remark. 

2 The word " dear " is often used ironically by Komensky. 


of their chains. She poured poison into the dainties 
of the voluptuaries. The famous she threw down 
so that their heads broke, or struck them down by 
means of swords, muskets, daggers ; she led almost 
all out of the world in some strange fashion. 



{Sapientice apex, desperatio de rebus mundi.} 

Now, was I afeard, seeing that nowhere in the world, 
not even in this castle, is there any enjoyment that 
the mind can grasp safely, bravely, and entirely. 
And this thought caused me to feel more and more 
gloomy, and Falsehood, my guide, though he tried 
all means, could not drive it from me. Indeed, I 
exclaimed : " Oh ! on my misery ! Shall I, then, 
never find any enjoyment in this wretched world ? 
Alas ! everything is everywhere full of violence 
and anxiety ! " Then the interpreter says : " Whose 
fault, then, is this, except thine own ? thou loath 
some, peevish one, who art disgusted with all that 
ought to please thee. Behold the others, how each 
one in his estate is gay and of good cheer, rinding 
sufficient sweetness in his pursuits." " Either," 
quoth I, " all these are mad, or they lie ; for that 
they enjoy true happiness is impossible." " Become 
thou, then, mad too, that thou mayest relieve thy 
anxiety." I answered : " I know not how to achieve 
this ; thou knowest that I have looked at many 



things, but ever has the sight of the rapid changes 
in things, and their wretched purpose, driven me 

(In the World the Mind of Man findeth not that 
which it seeks.) 

2. Then the interpreter : " What but thy own 
imagination is the cause of this ? If thou didst not 
sift too curiously the ways of men, and argue all 
questions everywhere, thou wouldst, like the others, 
enjoy a quiet mind, pleasure, gladness, happiness." 
" Yes," I said, " if I clung to outward seemings, as 
thou hast ; if I considered casual, tasteless laughter 
pleasure, thought the reading a few valueless books 
wisdom, and a small morsel of accidental felicity 
the summit of satisfaction. But why dost thou not 
take into account * the sweat, tears, groans, sickness, 
want, downfall, and other misfortunes that I see 
in all the estates, countless, measureless, endless ? 
Alas ! oh, alas ! Oh, over this miserable life ! You 
have led me everywhere, and what has it availed 
me ? It was promised me that I should be shown 
riches, learning, pleasure and security. But of all 
these things what have I ? Nothing ! What have 
I learnt ? Nothing ! Where am I ? That I myself 
know not. This only I know, that after so much 
struggling, so many labours, so much constant 
danger, so much fatigue and weariness of the mind, 
I find, at last, but wretchedness within me, and 
hatred of me in others ! " 

1 Literally, " where remain." 


( Wherewith are Men misled and deceived?} 

3. Then the interpreter : " It is well thus. Why 
wert thou not from the first guided by my 
counsel, which was to this purport : distrust 
nothing, believe everything, examine nothing, 
accept everything, revile nothing, find pleasure in 
everything ? That would have been the path by 
which thou couldst have journeyed tranquilly, 
obtained the favour of others, and enjoyment for 
thyself." To this I answered : " No doubt this 
would have been a fine thing if, deceived by thee, 
I had maddened as the others ; if I had rejoiced 
while erring to and fro ; if, while groaning under 
the yoke, I had skipped ; rejoiced, while sick and 
dying ! I have seen and beheld and understood 
that I myself am nothing, understand nothing, 
possess nothing ; neither do others ; it is but a vain 
conceit. We grasp at the shadow, but truth ever 
escapes us. Oh, alas ! and again alas ! " 

(He who looks through the World can but grieve} 

4. Then spake the interpreter : " What I have 
said before I will say yet again : * Everything is 
thine own fault, for thou demandest somewhat 
great and unusual that no man obtains. " I 
answered : " All the more do I grieve that not 
only I, but my whole race is wretched, and, being 
blind also, knoweth not its misery." Then the 
interpreter said : " I know not how and by what 


means I can give satisfaction to thee and to thy 
addled brain. As neither the world nor men, 
neither work nor idleness, neither learning nor 
ignorance, nothing generally, pleases thee, I know 
not what to do with thee, nor what on all this 
world I can advise thee." 

5. On this Impudence said : " Let us now lead 
him to the palace of our queen, which stands near 
here ; there he will, perhaps, recover his reason." 



THEN they take me and lead me on; and 
behold, the outer walls of this palace gleamed 
everywhere with divers beautiful paintings ; and it 
had a gate at which guards stood ; thus no one 
except those who had some power or office in the 
world could enter. To these only, as being servants 
of the queen and executors of her orders, liberty to 
go in and out was granted. Others, if they wished 
to behold the palace, had to gape at it from the 
outside only. (For it was said that it was not 
seemly that all should spy on the secrets by which 
the world is ruled.) And, indeed, of such who 
gaped at the castle from outside, more with their 
mouths than with their eyes, I saw a large number. 
None the less was I glad that they led me through 
the gates ; for I had also always been desirous to 
know what secrets worldly Wisdom possessed. 

2. But here also I was not without an accident ; 
the guards, stopping me, begin to question me as to 
my purpose ; indeed, they begin to drive and push 
me back, and to strike at me. But Impudence, 
who was well known here also, said I know not 


what in my favour, and taking me by the hand, 
led me into the first court, all the same. Then 
looking at the building of the palace itself, I see 
white-gleaming walls which, they told me, were of 
alabaster ; but looking at them carefully, and 
touching them with my hands, I find naught but 
paper, the crevices in which were stopped up by 
tow in every direction ; herefrom I judged that 
these walls were but a hollow, artificial work. I 
wondered, and laughed at this deceit. We then 
came to the steps by which we were to go upward, 
and fearing destruction (and I think that my heart 
felt what would now befall me), I would not go 
on. Then the interpreter said : " Wherefore such 
fancies, my friend ? Then mayest thou also fear 
that the heavens will fall down on thee. Dost 
thou not see many who come and go upward and 
downward ? " Then, seeing here also examples in 
others, I went up this winding staircase, that was 
so high and round that giddiness might have 
befallen me. 



(The Pilgrim is placed before the Queen of Worldly 

THEN they lead me into a large hall, within 
which a wondrous lightness streamed towards me. 
It did not proceed from any of the many windows, 
but rather as I was told from the many precious 
stones with which the walls were encased ; and the 
floor was bestrewn with precious carpets that also 
gleamed with gold, but in the place of a ceiling 
there appeared to be a cloud or mist. This I 
could not fully examine, for my eyes were incon 
tinently fixed on the dear queen herself, who sat 
on the highest place under a baldachin ; and around 
her stood on both sides her councillors and 
servants, a truly glorious company. But I was 
terrified by this splendour, and yet more so when 
the queen s ladies, one after the other, began to 
look at me. Then Impudence spake : " Fear 
naught ; approach more closely, that her majesty 
the queen may see thee. Be then valiant, but 
forget not modesty nor courtesy." Then he led 
241 Q 


me into the middle of the hall and ordered me to 
bow down low ; knowing not how to bear myself, 
I did so. 

(The Pilgrim is impeached.) 

2. Then my interpreter, who, against my wishes, 
had become my interpreter, began thus : " Most 
serene queen of the world, most brilliant ray of 
God s light, magnificent Wisdom ! This young man 
whom we bring before you has had the good 
fortune to receive from Fate (the regent of your 
Majesty) permission to view all the ranks and 
conditions in this kingdom of the world, over which 
the great God has placed you as His representative, 
that you may by your prudence rule it wisely from 
one boundary to the other. He has been led by 
us, who, through your prudent decision, have been 
appointed the guides of such men, through all the 
estates of mankind. Yet with humility and 
sorrow we confess this to thee in spite of all our 
sincere and faithful endeavours, we have not 
succeeded in persuading him to choose a certain 
estate, establish himself tranquilly in it, and become 
one of the faithful, obedient, constant inhabitants 
of this our common country ; rather is he ever 
and on all occasions anxious, disgusted with all, 
desirous of somewhat unusual. Therefore, as we 
can neither satisfy his wild cravings nor even 
understand them, we place him before your 
illustrious serenitude, leaving it to your prudence 
to decide what is to be done with him." 


(The Pilgrim is afeard. The Adversary ; Power; 
Endearment. T ) 

3. Now everyone will judge what my state of 
mind was when I heard this speech (which I had 
not expected). For I now fully understood that I 
had been brought here for judgment. Therefore 
was I afeard ; and yet more so when I saw lying 
beneath the throne of the queen a terrible beast 
(whether it was a dog or a lynx, or some dragon, I 
do not well know) ; and when I saw that it looked 
at me with sparkling eyes, I clearly saw that it 
required little to incite it against me. There stood 
there also two soldiers in mail, bodyguards of the 
queen ; they were indeed in female attire, but 
terrible to behold, particularly the one who stood 
at the left. For he wore an iron coat of mail, 
prickly as a hedgehog (and even to touch it, I saw, 
was dangerous) ; on his hands and feet he had 
steely claws; in one hand he held a spear and a 
sword, in the other arrows and fire-arms. The 
second guard seemed to me laughable rather than 
terrible ; for instead of a coat of mail, he wore the 
skin of a fox turned inward out; instead of a 
halberd he carried the brush of a fox, and in the 
left hand he held a nut-twig which he rattled. 

( The Queens Words to the Pilgrim?) 

4. Now when my interpreter (or rather, if I may 
say so, traitor) had finished his discourse, the queen 

i For the explanation of these names, see later, p. 240. 


(whose visage was covered by a most soft veil of 
lawn), spoke to me this weighty and lengthy speech : 
" Worthy young man, thy intention and desire to 
behold everything in the world displeaseth me not 
(indeed, I wish all my beloved ones to do this, and 
gladly through my trusty servants render them 
aid). But this I hear of thee with displeasure, that 
thou art somewhat fastidious ; and though thou art 
in the world as a guest, who should learn what is 
new to him, yet thou givest thyself up to cavilling. 
Though I could therefore award thee punishment 
as an example to others, yet I wish that examples 
rather of my peaceableness and kindness than of 
my severity should be known to all; therefore I 
forbear with thee, and grant thee a residence near 
me in this my palace, that thou mayest better 
understand both thyself and the order of my rule. 
Value, then, this my favour, and learn that it is not 
granted to all to reach those secret spots, where the 
decrees and judgments of the world are delivered." 
When she had ended her speech she waved her 
hand, and I stepped aside, according to the in 
structions I had received, and I was anxious to see 
what now again would befall. 

(The Queeris Councillors.} 

5. Meanwhile, standing somewhat apart, I ask 
the interpreter how these councillors of the queen 
are named, what was the order among them, and 
what were the duties of each of them. Then he 
said to me : " Those privy councillors that stand 


nearest to the queen are, at her right: Purity, 
Circumspection, Prudence, Caution, Affability, 
Moderation. On the left side stand : Truth, Zeal, 
Sincerity, Courage, Patience, and Constancy; and 
these are the councillors of the queen who ever 
surround her throne." 

!( The Officials of the Queen.) 

6. "Now these who stand beneath the barriers are 
the queen s officials and vice-regents upon earth. 
The one who is clothed in grey garments is the 
ruler of the inferior regions, and she is called 
Industria or Endeavour ; then that one garbed in 
purple, wearing a slighted necklace and a wreath 
(but her, I think, thou hast already seen) is the 
ruler of the Castle of Fame, and she is called the 
Lady Fortuna. These two and their aids are 
employed at their business, now here, now there ; 
they have both to render services and to receive 
judgments and commands. Each of these has 
again her inferior officials under her ; thus the 
Lady Industria has appointed Love to rule over 
the married people, Laboriousness over the trades 
and matters of commerce, Sagacity over the 
scholars, Piety over the clergy, Justice over the 
lawyers, and so forth." 

(The Rule of Women in the World) 

7. Now hearing these fine names, and seeing that 
none the less all was awry in the world, I would 


fain have spoken somewhat, but I dared not. I 
merely devised with myself: " This is indeed a 
wondrous government of the world. The king is 
a woman, the councillors are women, the officials 
are women ; the whole rule is of women. How 
could anyone fear it ? " 

(The Bodyguards.) 

8. Now I inquired also about these two body 
guards, what and wherefore they were. He ] said 
that her majesty the queen also had her enemies 
and caballers, against whom it behove her to guard 
herself. "This one in a fox s skin is called 
Endearment ; the other, with iron and fire, is Power. 
When one cannot guard the queen, the other 
defends her ; thus by turns they take the place one 
of the other. Then that dog who is near them 
does duty as watcher, who by barking makes 
known the approach of all who are suspect, and 
drives them away. He is known at Court as the 
Messenger, but those whom his duties please not 
much call him the Adversary. But cease now to 
gape ; listen and attend to what will befall here." 
" It is well," said I, " with pleasure." 

1 J.e., the interpreter. 



(Solomon comes forward^ wishing to obtain Wisdom 
as his Spouse) 

Now when I prepare to listen to what was to befall 
here, a great noise and tumult arises, and as all 
looked round, I also did thus. And I see, entering 
the palace, one clothed in bright splendour, bearing 
a crown and a golden sceptre, and a huge company 
followed him. All were afeard, and the eyes of all 
mine also were turned to him. Then approach 
ing nearer, he declared that he had thus been 
honoured by the highest God of gods, that he 
could behold the world more freely than all who 
had come before him or would come after him, and 
more than this, that he would take Wisdom, the 
ruler of the world, for wife ; therefore had he 
sought her. 



(And he called himself Solomon, the King of the 
Israelite Nation, the most glorious one under 
Heaven. What was answered to him, and 
what he then again said. Eccl. ii. 7.) 

2. Then through Prudence, the chancellor of the 
queen, he received this reply, that Wisdom was the 
spouse of Christ Himself, and could not wed any 
other ; but that if he wished to find favour with her, 
this would not be refused to him. Then Solomon 
said : " Now will I strive to see what difference 
there is between wisdom and folly ; for nothing 
pleaseth me that happens under the sun." 

( The Pilgrim rejoices?) 

3. Oh, how greatly I rejoiced, hearing that 
now at last God be thanked ! I should obtain 
a guide and councillor different from those I 
had had before, one with whom I could dwell 
safely, with whose help I could examine every 
thing, and whom, lastly, I could follow where he 
went. And I began to praise God within my 

(Solomoris Company?) 

4. Now, Solomon had with him a vast company 
of servitors and friends, who came with him to 
behold Wisdom, this queen of the world. Among 


those around him there were honourable men of 
worthy habit, of whom I was told, on inquiring, 
that they were called patriarchs, prophets, apostles, 
confessors, and so forth. Further back amidst the 
crowd they showed me some of the philosophers 
Socrates, Plato, Epictetus, Seneca, and others. They 
all sat down at both sides of the hall, and I did so 
also, with great expectation of what would befall. 



Now I soon understood that those matters 
common to all estates only were administered 
here ; the more private ones were settled, each 
in its own place, in town-halls, law-courts, con 
sistories, and so forth. But what now befell in 
my presence I will make known as briefly as 

(Complaints of the Disorders of the World.) 

2. First, the two officials or vice- regents of the 
world, Industria and Fortuna, came forward and 
spake of the disorders that come to pass in all 
the estates ; these, they said, were caused by the 
general faithlessness, craftiness, plots and frauds ; 
and they begged that in some manner this be 
righted. And I rejoiced, seeing that they also 
understood what I understood, namely, that there 
is no order in this world. Remarking this, the 
interpreter said : " Thou hadst then believed that 
thou alone hast eyes, and that except thee no man 
seeth aught. Well, see now how carefully those 
to whom this duty is entrusted attend to those 


matters ! " " Gladly do I hear this," I said. " May 
God but grant that the right path be found ! " 

( They seek for the Causes of the Disorders of the 

3. Then I saw that the councillors assembled, 
and after they had held council together they 
decided that through the chancellor Prudence the 
question be put whence these disorders arose. And 
after much investigation it was stated that some 
rioters and mutineers had stolen in who secretly 
and openly spread disorder. The greatest blame 
was awarded (tor they were all mentioned by 
name) to Drunkenness, Greed, Usury, Lust, Pride, 
Cruelty, Laziness, Idleness, and some others. 

(A Decree is issued against the Causers of these 

4. They then again took council about these, and 
at last they came to a decision that was read out, 
and that declared that it should, through open 
charters, that were to be hung up in certain 
places and sent to all parts of the land, be made 
known that her majesty, Queen Wisdom, had 
remarked that through the many strangers who 
had slyly stolen into the land, many disorders 
also had found entrance into it. Therefore she 
declared that those who were found to be the ring 
leaders should, for all times, be expelled from her 
kingdom, particularly Drunkenness, Greed, Usury, 


Lust, and others ; from this very hour they should 
no longer allow themselves to be seen, under penalty 
of immediate death. When this decree was issued 
by means of the charters that had been prepared, 
wondrous jubilation began among the joyful people ; 
each one and I also now looked forward to the 
golden age. 

(New Complaints and New Decrees?) 

5. But when, after a while, nothing became 
better in the world, many hurriedly came forward, 
complaining that the decree had not been carried 
out. After the council had again met, the queen 
appointed as her special commissioners Heednot 
and Overlook, and in view of the great importance 
of the matter, Moderation, one of the queen s 
councillors was to join them ; they were instructed 
to carefully investigate whether some of these evil- 
reputed exiles had remained in the land contrarily 
to the decree of banishment, or had audaciously 
returned. Then the commissioners went their 
way, and returning some time afterwards, they 
reported that they had indeed found some who 
appeared suspect; but these did not count them 
selves among the men who had been banished, and 
indeed bore different names. One who appeared 
similar to Drunkenness was named Tipsiness or 
Merriment; one who resembled Greed was called 
Economy ; a third, similar to Usury, bore the name of 
Interest ; a fourth, who resembled Lust, was called 
Love; a fifth, similar to Pride, was named Dignity; a 


sixth resembled Cruelty, but his name was Severity ; 
a seventh, similar to Laziness, was named Good 
nature, and so forth. 

(The Charters are expounded^) 

6. After this matter had been considered by the 
council, it was now decreed that Merriment was 
not to be called Drunkenness, nor Economy Greed, 
and so forth. Therefore the persons named were 
to be left free, as the charter concerned them not. 
As soon as this decision was made known, these 
incontinently walked abroad freely, and a crowd of 
common folk who followed them became acquainted 
with them, and associated with them. Looking now 
at Solomon and his companions, I see that they 
shake their heads ; but as these men were silent, I 
also was silent ; but I heard one of them whisper 
to another: "The names (they say) are banished, 
but the traitors and destroyers, after changing their 
names, have free access. This will not end well ! " 

( The Estates of the World demand greater Liberties?) 

7. And now envoys of all the estates of the world 
came forth and demanded audience ; when admitted 
they presented, with strange gestures, this humble 
entreatment : " Would Her Majesty, the most 
Ilustrious Queen, deign graciously to remember how 
faithfully and obediently all the loyal estates of the 
realm had clung to the sceptre of her rule, consenting 
wholly to her rights, decrees, and command over 


all ; now also they were of this and no other intent ; 
only they humbly begged that, as a reward for 
past, and as an encouragement for future and stable 
fidelity, Her Royal Majesty would grant them some 
increase of their privileges and liberties, according 
to the fashion that pleased H. R. M. 1 They promised 
that they would, by constant obedience, prove their 
gratitude for this gift." Then they finished speak 
ing, bowed to the earth, and withdrew. Then 
rubbing my eyes, I said unto myself : " What will 
this be ? Has the world, then, not enough of 
liberty that it demands more ? A bridle you 
require, a bridle and a whip, and somewhat of 
hellebore." But I devised thus with myself only, 
for I had decided to say naught ; in the presence of 
these sages and grey-haired men, this was more 
beseeming for me. 

(The Distribution of New Privileges.) 

8. And they again meet in council, and after 
much deliberation the queen gave it to be known 
that she had ever striven to educate and to adorn 
her kingdom, and that of her own free will she 
was inclined to this ; having then heard the 
prayers of her trusty and well-beloved subjects, 
she did not wish to leave them unfulfilled. There 
fore had she decided to improve their titles, that 
they might be more greatly honoured. Thus would 
they more clearly and by greater honour be distin- 

1 I follow Komensky s example in using here the initials 


guished the one from the other. Therefore did she 
decree and ordain that henceforth the tradesmen 
should be called " renowned," the students " illus 
trious " and " most learned," the masters of arts and 
doctors " most renowned," the priests " reverend," 
" praiseworthy," or " worthy of all honour " ; the 
bishops " most saintly," the richer among the 
citizens " gentle," the country gentlemen " gentle 
and valiant knights," the lords "two- fold lords," 1 
the counts "high-born lords and lords," 1 the 
princes " most potent," the kings " most splendid 
and invincible." " That this be more firmly estab 
lished, I decree that none shall be obliged even to 
receive a letter if any part of his title be omitted 
or it be worded wrongly." Then the envoys went 
forth, after giving the queen thanks. And I 
thought within myself : " Noble booty have you 
obtained ; lines on a morsel of paper." 

(The Humble Supplications of the Poor.) 

9. Now, the poor of all ranks came forth with 
a supplication, in which they complained of the 
great inequality in the world, and that others had 
abundance while they suffered want. They begged 
that this might in some fashion be righted. After 
the matter had been weighed, it was decreed that 
the poor should be told in answer that H.R.M. 

1 The custom of twice repeating a title as a proof of 
respect still occasionally met with in Bohemia was 
general in Komensky s time ; an example will be found 
in his dedication of this book to Charles, Lord of Zerotin. 


wished indeed that all should have as much com 
fort as they coold themselves desire, but that the 
glory of the kingdom demanded that the light of 
some should shine above that of others. There 
fore, in accordance with the order established in 
the world, it could not be otherwise than that as 
Fortuna had her castle, so also should Industria 
have her workshops full of people. But this was 
granted them, that each one who was not idle 
might raise himself from poverty by whatever 
means he could or knew. 

( The Supplications of the Industrious Ones.) 

10. Now, when the answer given to these 
supplicants became known, others after a while 
appeared bearing a petition of the industrious. 
They begged that in future those who idled not 
should be assured, whatever their estate and their 
enterprises might be, that they would obtain that 
for which they strove and worked, and that blind 
fortune should not decide. Concerning this peti 
tion, a lengthy council was held ; thence I judged 
that the matter was by no means an easy one. At 
last it was declared that, though the power and 
might that had once been entrusted to Fortuna 
and her faithful servant Chance (for it could not 
be otherwise) could not be taken out of their 
hands, yet their petition would be remembered, 
and an order given that, as far as possible, the 
industrious rather than the thriftless should be 


considered ; they could therefore act in accordance 
with this. And they also went forth. 

( The Supplications of the Learned and Famous^ 

11. Immediately afterwards followed the envoys 
of some illustrious men. They were Theophrastus 
and Aristotle, and they asked for two things : 
firstly, that they should not be subject to the acci 
dents of life as other men are ; secondly, as they 
were, through God s kindness, distinguished by 
great wit, learning, riches, and so forth, above all 
others in the world (and as it would be a general 
loss should such men perish), they begged for this 
privilege above the common multitude : that they 
should never die. After their first request had 
been considered, they were told that they demanded 
just things ; they would therefore be allowed to 
protect themselves against accidents as well as they 
could ; the learned by means of their learning, the 
prudent by their prudence, the powerful by their 
power, the rich by their riches. With regard to 
their second demand, Queen Wisdom gave the order 
that all the most renowned alchemists should be 
assembled, and should with all diligence study the 
means by which immortality could be obtained. 
Then those who received this order withdrew. But 
when after a time none of them returned, and the 
envoys pressed for an answer, they received, pro 
interim, a message to the purpose that H.R.M. did 
not desire that such precious men should perish 

together with the others; but that she knew not 



for the moment how to accomplish this. This 
privilege should, however, be given to them, that 
while the others were buried immediately after 
death, these should be kept among the living as 
long as possible ; while the others would after death 
be merely under a green sod, these would repose 
under stones. This and what else they could 
imagine to distinguish themselves from the common 
rabble was to be granted them, and a charter given 
them to that import. 

(Supplications of the Rulers^) 

12. When these had departed, some came forward 
as representatives of the rulers ; they dilated on 
the hardships of that estate, and asked for relief. 
Then permission was granted them to seek rest, 
and rule by means of their vice-regents and 
officials ; they acquiesced in this, and departed, after 
giving thanks. 

(Supplications of the Subjects. 1 ) 

13. Not long afterwards envoys of the subjects, 
tradesmen, and peasants came forward, and com 
plained that those who were over them wished 
nothing but to drink their sweat ; for they ordered 
them to be so driven and harassed that bloody 
sweat ran down them. And those whom the lords 

1 J.e., serfs. 


employed for such purposes 1 were all the more 
cruel to them, that they also might obtain a small 
dish at their expense. And as a proof of this they 
incontinently showed countless weals, stripes, scars, 
and wounds ; and they asked for mercy. And it 
appeared evident that this was an injustice, and 
therefore should be stopped ; but as the rulers had 
been permitted to govern by means of these 
servants, it appeared that they were the guilty 
ones ; they were therefore summoned to appear. 
Summonses were therefore sent out to all the royal, 
princely, and lordly councillors, regents, officials, 
stewards, collectors, writers, judges, and so forth, 
informing them that they must appear without fail. 
They obeyed the order, but against one accusa 
tion they brought forward ten. They com 
plained of the laziness of the peasants, their 
disobedience, insubordination, conceit, their mis 
chievous ways as soon as their bit was even 
slightly loosened, and other things. After these 
men had been heard, the whole matter was again 
considered by the council. Then the subjects were 
told that, as they either did not love and value the 
favour of their superiors, or were unable to obtain 
it, they must become used to their ferocity ; for 
thus must it be in the world, that some rule and 
others serve. Yet it was granted them, that if by 
willingness, compliance, and true attachment to 

i Komensky here refers to the officials whom the Bohemian 
lords appointed to rule their peasants ; these officials had an 
evil reputation of cruelty and dishonesty. 


their superiors and rulers they could gain their 
favour, they should be allowed to enjoy it. 

(The Grievances of the Jurists and Advocates. 
Ratio Status is given them as a Precept?) 

14. After these had been dismissed, there 
remained the jurists (councillors of the kings and 
lords, doctors of laws, advocates, judges, and so 
forth) who complained of the incompleteness of 
written laws, 1 in consequence of which not all the 
disputes that arose among men could be decided 
(though they already noted more than a hundred 
thousand cases). Thus it happened that they were 
either unable to maintain perfect order among 
men, or if they added somewhat out of their own 
minds for the purpose of expounding the law and 
ending strife the unwise considered this to be a 
misrepresentation of the law, and a perversion of 
their case ; thence they incurred dislike, and litiga 
tion increased among them. They therefore 
demanded either advice as to their behaviour, or 
protection against the forward judgments of men. 
Then, after they had been told to withdraw, the 
matter was discussed ; but it would be long to tell 
what the pleading of each of the queen s councillors 
was. Therefore will I only tell of the decision 
that was made known to the jurists after they had 
again been called forward to wit, that H.R.M. 

1 The jurists demanded the complete codification of the 


knew no way by means of which new laws applying 
to all possible cases could be written down, there 
fore should the former laws and customs remain in 
force. But H.R.M. deigned to give them this 
rule and key, that when expounding the laws and 
passing judgment in accordance with them, they 
should seek either their own advantage or that of 
the community. This rule was to be called Ratio 
Status ; by means of it they would be able to 
guard themselves as with a shield against the 
thrusts of vulgar calumny. The fashion of rule 
(which not all could understand) required that 
some things should remain as they were. The 
jurists, having received this their new rule, 
promised to conform to it and withdrew. 

(Complaints of the Women against the Men, and the 
Men against the Women.) 

15. But a short time passed, and then the women 
came, complaining that they had to live under the 
rule of men, as if they were slaves. Immediately 
afterwards men also were found who lamented over 
the disobedience of women. Then the queen and 
her advisers met in council more than once. Then 
through the lady chancellor this answer was issued : 
" As Nature had given man superiority, this should 
remain as it was, but under these important restric 
tions : firstly, as women form half the human race, 
men shall do naught without hearing their counsel ; 
secondly, as Nature often pours out her gifts more 
bounteously on women than on men, every woman 


whose wit and strength enabled her to lord it over 
her lord should be called amazon, l and the man 
should not be allowed to take the supremacy from 
her." This was the first answer, but neither men 
nor women were content with it. The women, 
indeed, wished that the men should either share the 
rule with them, or that they should take it by turns ; 
thus would the command change, and be held, now 
by the men, now by the women. Some even were 
found who wished nothing less than that women 
alone should rule, alleging their greater agility 
both of mind and of body ; therefore, as men had 
for so many thousand years had supremacy, it was 
time that they should cede it to the women. And, 
indeed, a few years since, in the English Kingdom, 
a noble example of this was seen. 2 When Queen 
Elizabeth ruled, she decreed that men should give 
their right hand to women 3 to honour them, and 
this worthy custom still endured. As therefore 
H.M. Wisdom, the queen of the world, and all her 
lady-councillors, had by God been created in this 
their sex, and yet placed over men as their rulers, 

1 This passage is very difficult to translate ; the literal 
meaning of the Bohemian " muzatka " would be " manness " 
(the German " mannin "). 

2 Comp. "II governo delle donne ha avuta la prevalenza 
iiel nostro secolo ; nuove amazoni sono comparse tra la 
Nubia e la Monopotama e in Europa noi abbiamo veduto 
regnare Roxolane in Turchia, Buona in Polonia, Maria in 
Ungheria, Elisabetta in Inghilterra, Catterina in Francia, 
Bianca in Toscana, Margherita nel Belgio, Maria in Scozia, 
Isabella che favori la scoperta del nuovo mondo in Spagna." 
Campanella, "Civitas Solis," Italian translation, Lugano, 

When leading them into a room. 


it appeared seemly. (" Regis ad exemplum totus 
componi orbus.") 1 The same rule as in the world 
should prevail in houses and communities also. 
By this speech they thought that they would easily 
guide the mind of Queen Wisdom to their own 
view. Then the men, not to lose their case by 
their silence, opposed this; they said that though 
God had entrusted the government of the world to 
Queen Wisdom, yet He mainly held it Himself in 
His own hands, therefore would they do so also, 
and so forth. 

(An Agreement between Men and Women.) 

16. Then they again met in council several 
times, and thus I understood that they had never 
had so grave a matter brought before them. 
Though we were all waiting for the final decision, 
we received it not ; but Prudence and Affability 
were instructed to deliberate secretly with both 
parties. These, mediating in the matter, found a 
compromise, namely, that for the purpose of peace 
and harmony in their homes, men should at least 
tacitly grant superiority to the women, and avail 
themselves of their advice ; the women, contenting 
themselves with this, should outwardly appear 
obedient. Thus things would seemingly remain as 
before, yet the domestic rule of women would be 
strengthened ; for otherwise the great secret that 

1 The Latin words are printed thus in Mr. Bily s last 
edition (founded on the Amsterdam MS.), and also in Mr. 
Korinek s recent edition of the " Labyrinth." 


men rule the community, and women again rule 
men, might become apparent. The queen begged 
both parties to prevent this ; this was agreed to on 
both sides. Then, seeing this, one of Solomon s 
companions said (Syr. xxvi. 29 *) : "A woman who 
honours her husband is considered wise ! " and a 
second added (Ephes. v. 23) : " The husband is the 
head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of 
the Church." But the friendly agreement was 
confirmed, and both men and women withdrew. 

1 From the Apocrypha. 



(The Mask of Worldly Wisdom is Uncovered. 
Eccl. i. 2, 15.) 

THEN Solomon, who had hitherto sat looking 
on quietly, could no longer contain himself. With 
a loud voice, he began to cry : " Vanity of vanities ; 
all is vanity! Cannot that which is crooked be 
made straight ; and that which is wanting be 
numbered ? " Then he rose, and with him his 
whole following, with great tumult ; and he went 
straight to the throne of the queen. And neither 
this fierce beast, the Messenger, nor the guards on 
both sides could prevent this ; for his voice and 
his splendour intimidated them all, and, indeed, 
the queen, also, and her councillors. Then he 
stretched out his hand and took from her face the 
veil which had before appeared costly and glitter 
ing, but now appeared as nothing but a spider s 
web. And behold ! her face was pale, but swollen ; 
there was indeed some red on her cheeks, but it 
was paint ; and this appeared clearly, for in some 

places it had peeled off; the hands also appeared 


scabby, the whole body displeasing, and her breath 
stank. Then I, and all the others present, were so 
afeard that we were almost benumbed. 

(Her Councillors also are unmasked. Eccl. i. 14.) 

2. Then Solomon turned to the councillors of the 
pretended queen, took their masks from them, and 
said : " I see that in the place of justice, injustice 
rules, and abomination in that of sanctity. Your 
carefulness is distrust, your foresight cunning, your 
affability flattery, your truth self-deceit ; your zeal 
is fury, your valour foolhardiness, your love lust, 
your work slavery, your sagacity mere conjecture, 
your religion hypocrisy, and so forth. Is it, then, 
your task to rule the world instead of the Almighty 
God ? God will bring to judgment all deeds and 
all secret things, be they good or bad. But I will 
go forth and announce this to the whole world, that 
it may no longer permit itself to be misguided and 

(Solomon proclaims the Vanity of the World to the 
whole World.) 

3. Then turning round, he went forth wrath- 
fully, and his companions with him ; then when 
he began to cry out, " Vanity of vanities, and all 
is vanity ! " then from all directions men of all 
countries and nations, kings and queens from 
distant lands, collected around him. And his 
eloquence rained down on them and instructed 


them, for his words were as thorns and nails 
that are driven home. 

(They hold Counsel as to how they could outwit him.) 

4. But I followed them not, but remained in the 
palace, standing with my guides, who were horror- 
stricken, and beheld everything that further befell 
there. The queen, namely, who had recovered from 
her faint, began to take counsel with her councillors 
as to what should be done. Zeal, Sincerity, and 
Courage advised that all the forces should be col 
lected and sent in pursuit of Solomon, that he 
might be captured. Prudence, on the contrary, 
declared that no good would be done by means 
of violence ; for not only was Solomon himself 
also powerful, but he had almost the whole world 
as his following. Thus did the messengers, who, 
one after the other, brought news of what had 
happened, report ; rather should Affability and 
Flattery be sent after him, and they should take 
Pleasure with them from Fortuna s castle ; wher 
ever he was, they should trickishly enwind them 
selves round him, showing and praising the beauty 
and loveliness of the kingdom of the world. "Thus, 
perhaps," Prudence said, " he could be caught ; 
another way she knew not." And it was ordered 
that these three should set out at once. 



(Solomon rains forth Wisdom?) 

Now, seeing this, I tell my guides that I also 
would gladly behold what was to befall. Impu 
dence immediately consented, and went forth ; 
the interpreter did likewise. Then, when we 
had set out, we find Solomon with his com 
panions in the street of the scholars ; and to the 
wonder of all, he conversed of the nature of trees, 
from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto 
the hyssop that springeth out of the wall. He 
spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping 
things, and of fishes ; of the nature of the earth, 
the power of the elements, the constellations, the 
thoughts of men, and so forth. And men came 
from all nations to listen to his wisdom. Being 
thus extolled beyond all measure himself, he began 
to delight in himself ; this all the more when Affa 
bility and Flattery, cautiously approaching him, 
began yet further to increase his praise before the 

eyes of men. 



{Solomon devises Learned Crafts?) 

2. Then he rose up and went forth to behold 
other parts of the world, and entering the street of 
the tradesmen, he began to wonder at their divers 
arts, and to find pleasure in them ; then with his 
deep wit he devised for them strange things, such 
as the artful fashioning of gardens, orchards, fish 
ponds, the building of houses and towns, and the 
farthering of all that delights mankind. 

(He is entangled into tke State of Matrimony?} 

3. Now, when Solomon entered the street of the 
married people, Pleasure cunningly led to him all 
the most beautiful maidens, adorned in the most 
beauteous manner with divers sweet-sounding 
music. She told some of the most lovely to 
welcome the king solemnly, and they greeted him 
as the light of the human race, the crown of the 
Israelite nation, the jewel of the world; "as the 
estate of the scholars, as well as that of the trades 
men, had," they said, "gained not little from the 
presence of his light and illumination, thus did 
the estate of matrimony also strive to obtain 
through his presence an increase of its glory." 
After thanking courteously, Solomon said that he 
intended to honour that estate by joining it ; 
then choosing from among the maidens her who 
seemed to him most beautiful, he consented to be 
weighed together with her, 1 and linked to her 

1 See chapter viii. 


(they called her the daughter of Pharaoh). Abid 
ing now with her, he was struck by her beauty, 
and sought rather her glance and pleasure than 
wisdom ; then (a thing I should never have 
imagined) he allowed his glances to fall on the 
crowd of joyous maidens and cunning Pleasure 
brought more and yet more of them before his 
eyes ; struck by the beauty now of this, now 
of that one, he called to him all that came 
in his way, without their even being weighed 
together. Thus, in a short time he beheld seven 
hundred of them * around him, and three hundred 
also that were not wedded ; for he held it as glory 
to surpass, in such matters also, all who were before 
him and would be after him. And now nothing 
was to be seen but amorous trifling, and even his 
own followers grieved and groaned over this. 

(He now visits the Estate of Priesthood, and there 
sinks entirely?) 

4. Now, when he had passed through this street 
he proceeded farther, and entered the street of the 
priests, and whither the wretched companions who 
were fettered to him dragged him, thither he 
allowed himself to be drawn among beasts and 
reptiles, dragons and poisonous vermin; 2 and he 
began to find doleful delight among them. 

1 J.e., wives. 

2 Of course, an allusion to Solomon s idolatry. 




(Solomon s Companions express Displeasure.) 

SEEING Solomon thus deceived, those who were the 
foremost among his following Moses, Elias, Isaias, 
Jeremias began to speak with great zeal ; they 
protested before heaven and earth that they would 
take no part in such abominations, and they 
admonished the whole following to refrain from 
such vanity and folly. But as no few, none the 
less, followed Solomon s example, their ire became 
yet more inflamed, and they thundered yet more 
furiously, particularly Isaias, Jeremias, Baruch, 
Stephen, Paul, and others. Moses demanded that 
those with him should gird on their swords ; Elias 
that fire should come downward from heaven ; 
Ezechias that all those idols should be destroyed. 

(They heed not Wheedling Speech.} 

2. Seeing this, those who had been sent forth 
to mislead Solomon Affability, Flattery, and 

Pleasure, taking with them some of the philoso- 


phers, Mammon, and others advised the zealots 
to moderate themselves and behave in a more 
temperate fashion. When the wisest of men, 
Solomon, had submitted his mind and become 
accustomed to the ways of the world, why should 
they walk apart from the others, and continue to 
cavil ? But this advice was not heard ; the more 
they saw that Solomon s example misled and 
deceived many, the more they angered, ran to 
and fro, screamed and raged ; and this matter 
caused great riot. 

{Public Forces are sent against them.) 

3. For the queen, who had been advised of all 
this by her attendants, issued charters by which 
she summoned all men to her aid. Power, the 
leader of her bodyguard, was appointed general, 
and ordered to arrest the rioters and punish them 
as a warning to all. Then the alarm was sounded, 
and many assembled, prepared for the war, not 
only men of the estate of the mercenaries, but 
also magistrates, officials, judges, tradesmen, philo 
sophers, physicians, lawyers, and even priests ; 
women even went forth in divers dresses and with 
divers arms (for it was said that against such 
public enemies of the world all must give their 
aid, be they young or old). Seeing this vast army 
rolling along, I ask my guides : " What will now 
befall ? " Then the interpreter : " Now wilt thou 
learn what is the fate of those who, by their 
cavilling, cause riots and conspiracies among men." 


(Battle, Captivity, Murder, Burning, and other 

4. Then these men, attacking now one, then a 
second, a third, a tenth, strike, cut, and knock 
them down, trample them underfoot, capture them, 
bind them, lead them to prison, according to the 
greatness of their fury against each one of them. 
It is wondrous that my heart broke not from pity ; 
but though terrified by such cruelty and quiver 
ing, I yet dared not budge. Then I see that some 
of those who had been imprisoned and struck down 
wrung their hands, craving pardon for their deeds ; 
while others maintained their opinions, however 
cruelly they were treated. Then, incontinent, some 
were before my eyes cast into the fire ; others 
thrown into the water, hanged, decapitated, cruci 
fied, tortured with pincers, sawed, pierced, chopped, 
roasted on gridirons I cannot, indeed, number all 
the cruel forms of death that these men suffered ; 
but the worldly ones rejoiced and exulted over 



(The Pilgrim flees the World.) 

THEN, unable to behold such sights or to bear 
the sorrows of my heart any longer, I fled, wishing 
to seek refuge in some desert, or rather, were it but 
possible, to escape from the world. But my guides 
pursued me, overtook ine, and asked me whither 
I intended to go. Wishing to reprove them by 
silence, I answered naught. But when they, not 
wishing to leave me, continued mischievously to 
pursue me, 1 said : " I see now that matters will 
not become better in the world. All my hopes are 
ended. Woe on me ! " Then they: "Wilt thou not 
think better of it, after having seen what is the 
fate of those who cavil ? " Then I answered : 
" Thousandfold do I prefer to die, rather than to 
be where such things befall, and to behold vice, 
lies, corruption, cruelty. Therefore is death to me 
more desirable than life. I shall set out and see 
what is the fate of the dead whom I see carried 




(Falsehood disappears^) 

2. Impudence immediately granted my request, 
saying that it was well that I should see and 
understand such things also. The other dissuaded 
me, and endeavoured to stop me ; but heeding him 
not, I tore myself away and proceeded on my way. 
Then he remained there and forsook me. 

( The Pilgrim beholds the Dying and Dead. The 
Bottomless Abyss beyond the World.) 

3. Looking now about me, I behold the ways of 
the dying, of whom there were many ; and I see a 
mournful thing to wit, that all gave up the ghost 
with horror, lamentation, fear and trembling, know 
ing not what would befall them and whither they 
would go. Although I was afeard, yet wishing 
ever to acquire more knowledge, I walked through 
the rows of the dead to the limits of the world and 
of light. Here, where others, shutting their eyes, 
blindly cast forth their dead, I threw off the 
glasses of Falsehood, rubbed my eyes, and leaned 
forward as far as I dared. And I behold awful 
darkness and gloom, of which the mind of man 
can find neither the end nor the ground ; and 
there was here naught but worms, frogs, serpents, 
scorpions, rottenness, stench, the smell of brim 
stone and pitch that overwhelmed body and soul, 
generally unspeakable horror. 


(The Pilgrim falls to the Ground terrified?) 

4. Then my bowels quaked, my whole body 
trembled, and, terrified, I fell swooning to the 
ground, and cried mournfully : " Oh, most miser 
able, wretched, unhappy mankind ! this, then, is 
your last glory ! this the conclusion of your many 
splendid deeds ! this the term of your learning and 
much wisdom over which you glory so greatly ! 
this the rest and repose that you crave after count 
less labours and struggles ! this the immortality for 
which you ever hope ! Oh, that I had never been 
born, never passed through the gate of life! For 
after the many vanities of the world ; nothing but 
darkness and horror are my part ! O God, God, 
God \ God, if Thou art a God, have mercy on 
wretched me ! " 




( The First Conversion is the Work of God.) 

Now, when I cease speaking, and am still shaking 
with fear, I hear above me a mysterious voice that 
said " Return ! " And I lift my head to see who 
was calling ; but I see nothing, not even my guide 
Searchall ; for he, too, had now forsaken me. 

2. And lo ! now a voice again resounded 
" Return ! " Then knowing not how to turn 
back, nor whither to go out of this darkness, I 
began to sorrow, when lo ! the voice again called : 
" Return whence thou earnest to the house of the 
heart, and then close the doors behind thee." 

1 As I have already mentioned, Komensky has not indi 
cated the division of his book into two parts by any external 
signs ; the numbering of the chapters and pages continue* 
uninterrupted throughout the whole work. 



( The Second Conversion requires our own Endeavours 

3. This counsel I obeyed as well as I could, and 
it was well with me that I thus obeyed God, who 
had counselled me ; but this was yet a gift from 
Him. Then collecting my thoughts as best I 
could, I closed my eyes, ears, mouth, nostrils, and 
abandoned all contact with external things. Then 
I entered into the innermost of my heart, and 
behold ! everything therein was darkness. But 
when, with blinking eyes, I gaze a little around 
me, I behold a weak light that penetrated through 
the crevices ; and I see above me, in the vaulting 
of this my little chamber, what appeared to me a 
large, round, glassy window ; but it had been so 
much soiled and bedaubed that scarce any light 
came through it. 

(Description of Corrupt Nature?) 

4. Then, looking around me by means of this 
dim, scant light, I see on the walls certain small 
pictures of, as it seemed, sometime pretty work ; 
but the colours had faded, and some portions of 
the pictures had been hewn off, or broken off. 
Approaching them more closely, I see on them 
inscriptions such as Prudence, Meekness, Justice, 
Chastity, Temperance, and so forth. Then in the 
middle of the chamber I see divers broken and 
damaged ladders, and pincers and ropes, that had 
been damaged and scattered about ; item, large 


wings with plucked plumes ; lastly, clock-works 
with broken or bent cylinders, dents, and little 
columns ; and all this was scattered about at 
random, here and there. 

(Corrupt Nature cannot be mended by Worldly 

5. And I wondered what was the purpose of 
these implements, how and by whom they had 
been injured, and how they could be repaired. 
Now thinking of this and considering it, I could 
devise naught ; but hope arose in me that He who 
by His call had led me to this chamber, whoever 
He might be, would again address me, and further 
instruct me. For that of which I had here seen 
but the beginning pleased me well, both because 
my little chamber had not the evil smell of the 
other places, through which I had passed in the 
world, and also because I found not here rustle and 
rush, noise and crash, unrest and reeling to and fro, 
tussling and violence (things of which the world 13 
full). Here everything was quiet. 



(Our Illumination cometh from on High.) 

I NOW devise of this with myself, and wait what 
will further befall. And behold, a clear light 
appeared on high, and raising my eyes towards it, 
I see the window above me full of brightness, and 
from out of that brightness there appeared One, in 
aspect, indeed, similar to a man, but in His splendour 
truly God. His countenance shone exceedingly, 
yet could human eyes gaze at it, for it caused not 
terror; rather had it a loveliness such as I had 
never seen in the world. He then kindness itself, 
friendliness itself addressed me in these most 
sweet words : 

( Wherein the Source of ah Light and all Joy lieth.) 

2. " Welcome, welcome, my son and dear 
brother." And having said these words, He em 
braced me, and kissed me kindly. There came 
forth from Him a most delightful odour, and I was 
seized by such unspeakable delight that tears 

flowed from my eyes , and I knew not how to 


respond to so unexpected a greeting. Only sighing 
deeply, I gazed at Him with meek eyes. Then He, 
seeing me overwhelmed with joy, spoke thus 
further to me : " Where, then, has thou been, my 
son ? why hast thou tarried so long ? by what 
path hast thou come ? what hast thou sought in 
the world ? Joy ! where could thou seek it but 
in God ; and where couldst thou seek God, but in 
His own temple ; and what is the temple of the 
living God, but the living temple that He Himself 
has fashioned thine own heart ? I saw, my son, 
that thou wentest astray, but I would see it no 
longer. I have brought thee to thy own self. I 
have led thee into thyself. For here have I 
chosen my palace and my dwelling. If thou 
wishest here to dwell with me, thou wilt find here, 
what thou hast vainly sought on earth, rest, com 
fort, glory, and abundance of all things. This I 
promise thee, my son, that thou wilt not be 
deceived here as thou wert there in the world." 

(The Pilgrim gives himself over entirely to Jesus.) 

3. Hearing such speech, and understanding that 
He who spake was my Redeemer, Jesus Christ, of 
whom I had indeed heard somewhat in the world, 
but superficially only, I folded my hands, and then 
stretched them out, not, as in the world, with fear 
and doubt, but with full happiness and complete 
faith ; then I said : " I am here, my Lord Jesus ; 
take me to Thee. Thine I wish to be, and to 
remain for ever. Speak to Thy servant, and 


permit me to hear Thee ; tell me what Thou 
desirest, and grant that I find pleasure in it ; lay 
on me what burden Thou thinkest fit, and grant 
that I may bear it ; employ me for whatever pur 
pose Thou desirest, and grant me that I may not 
be found wanting ; order me to act according to 
Thy will, and grant me grace to do so. Let me be 
nothing, that Thou mayest be everything." 



(God s Wisdom directs even our Errors?) 

"I ACCEPT this from thee, my son," quoth He. 
" Hold to this, become, call thyself, and remain 
mine own. Mine, indeed, thou wert and art from 
all eternity, but thou knewest it not. I have long 
prepared for thee that happiness to which I will 
now lead thee ; but thou didst not understand this. 
I have led thee to thyself through strange paths 
and by roundabout ways ; this thou knewest not, 
nor what I, the ruler of all my chosen ones, 
intended; neither didst thou perceive by what 
means I worked on thee. But I was everywhere 
with thee, and therefore somewhat guided thee 
through these crooked paths, that I might at last 
bring thee yet closer to me. Naught could the 
world, naught thy guides, naught Solomon teach 
thee. They could by no means enrich thee, content 
thee, satisfy the desires of thy heart, for they had 
not that which thou didst seek. But I will teach 
thee everything, enrich thee, content thee." 


(All Worldly Striving should be transferred to God.) 

2. " This only I demand of thee, that whatever 
thou hast seen in the world, and whatever struggles 
thou hast witnessed among men, thou shouldst 
transfer it to me, and lay the burden of it on me. 
This, as long as thou livest, shall be thy work and 
thy task ; of that which men seek there in the 
world, but find not to wit, peace and joy I will 
give thee abundance." 

(The Pilgrim joins Christ only, his Eternal Spouse?} 

3. " Thou hast seen in the estate of the married 
people how those who find pleasure in one another 
leave everything, that they may belong to each 
other. Do thus thou also, leave everything, even 
thyself ; give thyself up fully to me, and thou 
wilt be mine, and it will be well. As long as 
thou dost not this, thou wilt, I assure thee, 
obtain no solace for thy soul. For in the world 
everything changeth ; everything beside me for 
which thy mind and thy desire will strive, will, 
in one way or another, cause thee toil and dis 
content ; at last it will forsake thee, and the 
joy that thou hadst found in it will turn to woe. 
Therefore I faithfully counsel thee, my son, for 
sake everything and cling to me ; be mine, and I 
thine. Let us shut ourselves up together here in 
this shrine, and thou wilt feel truer joy than can 
be found in carnal wedlock. Strive, then, to love 


me alone ; to have me as thy one counsellor, leader, 
friend, companion, and comrade in all things. And 
whenever thou speakest to me, say, I only and 
thou, oh, my Lord ! Thou needest not heed any 
third one. Cling but to me, gaze at me, converse 
sweetly with me, embrace me, kiss me ; expect 
also all things from me. 

{Christ should be considered our only Gain.) 

4. " Thou hast seen in other conditions how the 
men who seek gain busy themselves with endless 
labours, what artifices they employ, what perils 
they risk. Thou must now consider all this 
striving as vanity, knowing that one thing alone 
is necessary, the grace of God. Therefore, limit 
ing thyself to the one calling which I have 
entrusted to thee, conduct thy labours faithfully, 
conscientiously, quietly, entrusting to me the end 
and aim of all things. 

( The Pilgrim is taught to know Christ Himself the 

5. " Thou hast seen, when among the scholars, 
how they strive to fathom all things. Let it be 
the summit of thy learning to seek me in my 
works, and to see how wondrously I rule thee 
and everything. Here wilt thou find more matter 
for reflection than those yonder, 1 and it will be 

1 I.e., those of the world. 


with unspeakable delight. Instead of all libraries, 
to read which is endless labour, with little use and 
often with harm, while there is always weariness 
and anxiety, I will give thee this little book in 
which thou wilt find all arts. Here thy grammar 
will be to consider my words, thy dialectics faith 
in them, thy rhetoric prayers and sighs, thy physic 
meditation on my works, thy metaphysics delight 
in me and in the eternal things ; thy mathematics 
will consist in the weighing and measuring of my 
benefactions, and, on the other hand, of the ingrati 
tude of the world ; thy ethics will be love of me, 
which will give thee all instructions concerning thy 
conduct both towards me and towards thy fellow- 
creatures. But thou must seek all this learning, not 
that thou mayest please others, but that thou mayest 
come nearer to me. And in all these things, the 
simpler thou art, the more learned shalt thou be ; 
for my light inflames simple hearts. 

( We must consider Christ Himself our best Leech.} 

6. "Hast thou seen how the leeches contrive 
divers remedies to defend and prolong life ? But 
for what purpose shouldst thou trouble about the 
length of thy life ? Does it, then, depend on thee ? 
Thou didst not come into the world when thou 
didst wish it, and thou wilt not leave it when thou 
wishest, for my providence decides this. Consider, 
therefore, how thou canst live well, and I will 
consider how long thou shalt live. Live simply 
and uprightly according to my pleasure, and I 


shall find pleasure in being thy leech for thy good ; 
for I will be thy life, and the length of thy days. 
Without me, indeed, medicine also is poison; but 
if I decree it, poison also must become medicine. 
Therefore, entrust thy life and health to me only, 
and be thou in perfect peace as to such matters. 

(The Pilgrim holds Christ to be his Counsellor , 
Guide , and Protector.) 

7. "In jurisprudence thou hast witnessed the 
wondrous and entangled intrigues of men, and how 
they dispute over their divers affairs. But this 
shall be thy knowledge of law : not to envy any 
man either the property of others or his own ; to 
leave everyone what he has ; not to refuse to any 
man that which he requires ; to give to each one 
that which thou owest, and even beyond that, as 
much as thou canst ; to be conciliant in all for the 
sake of peace. If one takes away thy coat, give 
him thy cloak also; if one strikes thee on one 
cheek, put forth the other also. These are my 
laws, and if thou heedest them, thou wilt secure 

( What the Religion of Christ is.) 

8. "Thou hast seen in the world how men imagine 
vain ceremonies and strife while performing their 
religious duties. Thy religion shall be to serve me 
in quiet, and not to bind thyself by any ceremonies, 
for I do not bind thee by them. If thou wilt 


according to rny teaching serve me in the spirit 
and in the truth, then wrangle no further on these 
matters with any man, even if men call thee a 
hypocrite, heretic, or I know not what. Cling 
quietly to me only and to my service. 

( The Government of Christ s Kingdom^ 

9. " While among the great and the rulers of 
human society, thou hast seen how readily men 
strive to reach the highest places and to rule over 
the others. But thou, my son, shalt, as long as 
thou livest, ever seek the lowest place, and desire 
to obey, rather than to command. For truly it is 
easier and safer, and more convenient, to be under 
others than on the heights. But if thou must yet 
rule and command, then rule thy own self. I give 
thee thy soul and body to rule as a kingdom. As 
many limbs as thou hast in thy body, and divers 
emotions in thy soul, so many subjects shalt thou 
have ; see that thy rule over them be good. And 
should it please my providence to confide to thee yet 
other tasks, then fulfil them obediently and faith 
fully, heeding not thy own fancies, but my call. 

(The True Christian s Wars.) 

10. " In the estate of the warriors, thou hast seen 
that destroying and plundering fellow-men is there 
considered heroism. But I will tell thee of other 
enemies against whom thou must henceforth prove 
thy valour: the devil, the world, and the desires 


of thine own body. Guard thyself against these 
as well as thou canst, driving from thee the two first, 
striking down and killing the third. And when 
thou hast bravely done this, thou wilt, I promise, 
verily obtain a crown more glorious than those that 
the world hath. 

(In Christ alone there is Abundance of all.) 

11. "Thou hast seen also what the men in that 
castle of feigned fortune seek, and in what they 
glory : riches, pleasure, fame. Heed thou none of 
these things. They give not peace but disquietude, 
and they are but the path that leadeth to sorrow. 
Wherefore shouldst thou value a multitude of 
goods ; why desire it ? Life requires but little, and 
it is my business to provide for those who serve 
me. Strive, therefore, to collect inward treasures, 
illumination and piety, and I will grant thee 
everything else. Heaven and earth will belong to 
thee by inheritance ; be thou certain of this. 
Neither will such things vex thee and oppress thee 
as do the things of the world ; rather will they give 
thee unspeakable joy. 

( The Pilgrim s most dear Companions^} 

12. " The worldly ones gladly seek companion 
ship ; but thou must absent thyself from noisy 
striving, and learn to love solitude. Companionship 
is but an aid to sin, or to senseless fooling, idle 
ness, or waste of time. Yet wilt thou not be alone ; 



fear not, even if thou art alone. I am with thee, 
and the multitude of my angels ; with us wilt thou 
be able to imparl. Yet if at times thou desirest 
visible companionship also, seek out those who are 
of the same spirit. Thus will your companionship 
be a joint devotion to God. 

(True Delights^ 

13. " These others find their pleasure in plentiful 
banquets, eating, drinking, laughter. But it shall 
be thy pleasure, when necessary, to hunger, thirst, 
cry, suffer blows, and so forth, for my sake and with 
me. Yet if I grant thee pleasurable things, thou 
mayest also rejoice (but not because of these things, 
rather because of me, and for my sake). 

(True Glory.) 

14. " Thou hast seen how these others strive for 
glory and honours ; but thou must not heed the 
reports of men. Whether men speak well or evil of 
thee, it imports not, if but I am satisfied with thee. 
If thou but knowest that thou pleasest me, curry 
not favour with men ; their good will is fickle, 
imperfect, perverse ; they often love that which is 
worthy of hate, and hate that which is worthy of 
love. Nor is it possible to please all ; striving to 
please one, thou disgusteth others. By not con 
sidering all these, and by heeding me only, thou 
wilt fare best. If we both then agree together, the 
voice of man can neither take anything from you 


nor from me, nor grant anything. Strive not to 
know many, my son. Let thy glory be to be 
humble, that the world may, if possible, know 
nothing of thee ; this is best and safest. My angels, 
indeed, will know of thee, speak of thee, seek to 
serve thee ; announce, if necessary, thy works to 
heaven and earth. Be then certain of this. But 
truly when the time of the amendment of all 
things comes, all ye who have submitted yourselves 
to me shalt be led to unspeakable glory before the 
angels and the whole world. Compared to this 
glory, all worldly glory is but a shadow. 

(This is the Summit of all.} 

15. " Therefore, my son, I will say briefly : If thou 
hast goods, learning, beauty, wit, favour among the 
people, and everything that in the world is called 
prosperity, be not too proud ; if thou hast not 
these things, heed it not ; forsaking all these things, 
whether they be with thee or with others, find thy 
inward employment with me. And then having 
freed thyself from all created beings, denied also 
and renounced thy own self, thou wilt find me, and 
in me the fulness of peace ; this I promise thee." 

(To give yourself up wholly to Christ is the most 
blessed thing?) 

16. And I said : " Lord, my God, I understand 
that Thou alone art everything. He who hath 
Thee can easily lack the whole world, for in Thee 


alone he hath more than he can desire. I erred 
I now understand it when I wandered through 
the world seeking solace in created things. But 
from this hour I will delight in naught but in Thee. 
To thee I now already give myself up wholly. 
Deign, then, to strengthen me, that I may not 
abandon Thee in favour or created things, nor 
again commit the follies of which the world is full. 
May Thy grace preserve me ! I put my full trust 
in it." 



WHILE I speak thus, it appears to me as if there 
were a strange light around me. The small 
pictures that I had previously seen partly effaced 
and broken, I now beheld intact, clear, and beauti 
ful ; for thus did they now appear to move before 
mine eyes. The scattered and broken wheels also 
were joined together, and out of them was formed 
a noble instrument similar to a clock, which showed 
the course of the world, and God s wondrous guid 
ance. The ladders also had been repaired and 
placed against the windows, through which the 
heavenly light penetrated, so that as I understood 
one could look outward. The wings, also, that I 
had seen with plucked plumes had received a new 
large plumage, and He who was speaking to me 
our Lord took them and fastened them on to me, 
and said : " My son, I dwell in two spots, in heaven 
in my glory, and on earth in the hearts of the 
humble. And I desire that henceforth thou also 
shouldst have two dwelling-places, one here at home, 
where I have promised to be with thee ; the other 
with me in heaven. That thou mayest raise thyself 


thither, I give thee these wings (which are the desire 
of eternal happines and prayer). If thou dost will it, 
thou shalt be able to fly upward unto me, and thou 
shalt have delight in me, and I in thee." 



(New Bridles and Spectacles^) 

" MEANWHILE, to strengthen thee in this, and that 
thou mayest truly understand the joy to which I 
have now called thee, I will send thee among my 
other servants, who have already forsaken the 
world and given themselves up to me, that thou 
mayest behold their ways." " And where, O my 
Lord," quoth I, " shall I find them ?" He answered: 
" They dwell in the world dispersed among the 
others, but the world knows them not. But that 
thou mayest know them, and also that thou mayest 
be safe from the deceits of this world, in which, 
till I call thee to me, thou wilt dwell, I will, in 
place of the glasses and bridle which thou borest 
before, lay on thee my yoke (which is obedience 
to me), that thou mayest henceforth follow none 
but me. And I will give thee also these spectacles. 
If thou gazest through them carefully, thou wilt 
be enabled to see better both the vanities of the 
world and the delights of my chosen." (Now the 
outward border of these spectacles was the Word 



of God, and the glass within it was the Holy 
Ghost.) " Go now," He said : " go to that spot that 
thou didst pass by before, and thou wilt behold 
things that, without these aids, thou couldst not 
have beheld." 

( The True Christians in the midst of the Pretended 
Ones, and wherein they differ?) 

2. And now, remembering where I had gone 
astray before, I arise and go forth eagerly and 
in haste ; thus, though the tumult of the world 
surrounded me, I now no longer perceived it. I 
then enter a church that was named "Christianity," 
and then, seeing in its innermost part, that was the 
chancel, what seemed a curtain or screen, I immedi 
ately approach it, heeding not those sectarians who 
were wrangling in the aisles. Then only I duly 
understand what this spot was to wit, "Praxis 
Christianismi " x ; that is, " the truth of Chris 
tianity." Now, this screen was two-fold ; the outer 
screen, that appeared but indistinctly, was of dark 
colour, and was named " Contemptus Mundi " con 
tempt of the world ; the second innermost one was 
" Amor Christi " the love of Christ. By these two 
screens, as I saw, this spot was separated and 
divided from the others. He, however, who has 
passed through the innermost portal incontinent 
becomes somewhat different from other men ; he 
is full of bliss, joy, and peace. 

1 I have here, as elsewhere, transcribed Komensky s Latin 
quotations verbatim, and given his own translation. 


(There are but few True Christians, and 
wherefore P) 

3. Then I, standing yet outside and gazing, 
witness a wondrous and astounding thing: many 
thousands of men passed by the sanctuary, but did 
not enter it. Whether they saw it not, or merely 
heeded it not, or whether, viewed from outside, it 
appeared evil to them, I know not. I saw also 
that many who were learned in Scripture priests, 
bishops, and others who thought highly of their 
holiness went around the sanctuary; some, indeed, 
looked in, but did not enter ; and this appeared 
mournful to me. I saw also that when one came 
somewhat nearer, a light flashed on him through a 
crevice, or a sweet fragrance was wafted towards 
him, so that he could but seek how to arrive at 
this spot. But even of those who began to seek 
the door and look around them, many turned back 
when the flash of the world again struck them. 

(The Necessity of Neiv Birth.) 

4. But the truest reason why so few arrived 
there was, as I saw when stepping close to the 
screen, the very severe examination which they 
underwent there. For he who desired to enter 
there had to forsake all his goods, his eyes and 
ears, his mind and heart ; for it was said that he 
who would be wise before God must become simple 
of mind ; he who wished to know God must forget 


everything else ; he who wished to possess God must 
desert everything else. Therefore, some who would 
not forsake their goods and their learning, contend 
ing that such things are helpful to heaven, remained 
outside and entered not. I saw also that they not 
only examined the garments of those that were 
admitted, whether somewhat of earthly vanity was 
not hidden therein, but they also (a thing unusual 
elsewhere) took asunder their heads and hearts, 
that nothing unclean to God might defile His 
dwelling. This could not, indeed, be done without 
pain, but by means of heavenly medicine it was 
done so successfully that it increased rather than 
diminished the vital power ; for in the place of the 
blood that streamed forth in consequence of the 
pricking and cutting, a fire was kindled in their 
limbs which transformed a man into a different 
one. Then such a man wondered within his mind 
why he had hitherto loaded himself with such use 
less burdens, such as the things the world calls 
wisdom, glory, pleasure, riches ; and verily they 
are but burdens. Here I beheld how the lame 
skipped, the stammerers spoke eloquently, dull 
men confounded philosophers, those who had 
nothing declared that they possessed everything. 

(The Church is the Contrary of the World) 

5. Seeing this from the entrance, I now went 
farther beyond the screen and viewed all things 
first those that were common to all, then those that 
belonged to the divers callings with unspeakable 


delight. I see here that everything was contrary 
to the ways of the world. In the world I beheld 
everywhere blindness and darkness, here clear 
light; in the world deceit, here truth; in the 
world everything was full of disorders, here there 
was the purest order; in the world I had seen 
struggling; in the world care and grief, here 
joy ; in the world want, here abundance ; in the 
world slavery and bondage, here freedom; m 
the world everything was hard and heavy, here 
everything was easy; in the world there were 
dangers everywhere, here there was sheer safety. 
Of this will I narrate somewhat more fully. 



(The Twofold Light of the True Christians^} 

THE world and he who struggles in it is ever 
guided by public opinion ; the one clings to 
the other with regard to their conduct, and they 
pick their way fumbling as blind men, stopping 
short and stumbling now here, now there. Yet 
there dawns on these a twofold clear inward 
light the light of reason and the light of faith 
and both these are guided by the Holy Ghost. 

( The Light of Reason?) 

2. For although those who enter must put away 
and renounce their reason, yet the Holy Ghost 
returns it to them, purified and refined, so that they 
are, as it were, full of eyes ; wherever they go in 
the world, whatever they see, hear, smell, taste 
above them, under them, around them, everywhere 
they see the footsteps of God, and they know how 
to turn everything to piety. Therein are they 
wiser than the wisest philosophers of the world, 
whom by just judgment God blinds, so that though 
vainly imagining that they know everything, they 


know nothing ; neither what they have nor what 
they have not ; neither what they do, nor what 
though it were their duty they do not, nor to 
what purpose they go hither and thither, can they 
conceive. Their learning is but on the surface, 
mere gaping from outside ; to the innermost 
kernel, which is God s glory poured forth every 
where, they do not penetrate. But the Christian 
in everything that he sees, hears, touches, smells, 
tastes sees, hears, touches, smells, tastes God ; for 
he is certain in his mind that all this is clear truth, 
not vain fancy. 

(The Light of Faith) 

3. Then the light of faith gleams on him so 
brightly that he can already see and know, not 
only that which is before him, but also everything 
that is absent and invisible. In His work, God has 
truly revealed that which is on high, above the 
heavens, and in the abyss beneath the earth, as 
well as what was before the world, and what will 
be after it. The Christian, believing in this, has 
all this clearly before his eyes, though the world 
does not conceive it. The world will believe but 
in that which it sees, touches, holds in its hand. 
The Christian, on the other hand, is so wholly ab 
sorbed in invisible, absent, future things that those 
that are before him disgust him. The world ever 
demands proof ; the Christian thinks the Word of 
God alone sufficient. The world seeks bonds 
pledges, pawns, seals ; the Christian sets up faith 


alone as a security for all things. The world 
examines things for her own purpose in divers 
fashions, distrusts, tests, suspects. The Christian 
relies fully on the truthfulness of God. And 
whereas the world will ever cavil, doubt, question, 
feel uncertain, the Christian hath ever Him in 
whom he can place his entire confidence, whom he 
can obey, and before whom he can humble himself ; 
therefore the light of faith gleams on him, and he 
can see and know what things are unchangeable, 
and must be so, even though he cannot grasp them 
by the light of reason. 

( The Wonders of God seen in this Light. The Course 
of the World) 

4 And looking at this light, I behold wondrous, 
most wondrous, things more than I dare tell. Yet 
I will say somewhat. I beheld the world before 
me as a vast clock-work, fashioned out of divers 
visible and invisible materials ; and it was wholly 
glassy, transparent and fragile. It had thousands, 
nay, thousands of thousands, of larger and smaller 
columns, wheels, hooks, teeth, dents ; and all these 
moved and worked together, some silently, some 
with much rustling and rattling of divers fashions. 
In the middle of all stood the largest, principal, yet 
inrisible wheel ; from it the various motions of 
the others proceeded in some unfathomable manner. 
For the power of the wheel penetrated through all 
things, and directed everything. How this was 
done, I was not, indeed, able fully to fathom ; but 


that it was truly done, I saw very clearly and 
evidently. Now, this appeared to me both wondrous 
and most delightful : though all these wheels shook 
continually, and sometimes vanished for a time 
for the teeth and dents, and even the wheels and 
little columns, were sometimes displaced and fell to 
pieces yet the general movement never stopped ; 
for by some wondrous contrivance of this secret 
direction all that was wanting was ever replaced, 
filled up, renewed. 

(How Everything is ruled by the Secret Ordinance 
of God.} 

5. I will speak more clearly : I saw the glory of 
God, and how heaven and earth, and the abyss, and 
all that can be imagined beyond the world as far 
as the endless limits of eternity, were full of His 
power and divinity. I saw, say I, how His omni 
potence penetrated everything, and was the founda 
tion of all things ; that all that befell in the whole 
wide world was according to His will, the smallest 
things and the greatest ; that also I saw. 

(Particularly among Men. 1 ) 

6. And, that I may speak of men generally, I 
saw how all, both good and bad, live only in God 
and with God, thus only move and remain in 
existence, and how all their every movements 
and breath comes from God and by means of 

1 This refers to the heading of the previous paragraph. 


His power. I saw also how His seven eyes 
each one a thousand times brighter than the 
sun penetrate the whole earth, see everything 
that befalls in the light or in darkness, openly or 
secretly, and even in the deepest depths, watching 
thus over the hearts of men. I saw also how His 
mercy was poured out on all His creation, and, of 
all, most wondrously on men. For I saw how He 
loved all, sought their welfare, suffered the sinners, 
pardoned the transgressors, called to Him those who 
went astray, received those who returned to Him, 
waited for those who tarried, spared the stub 
born ones, overlooked those who offended Him, 
pardoned the contrite, embraced those who humbled 
themselves, taught the ignorant, comforted the sor 
rowful, warned men from falling, raised up those 
who had fallen, gave to those who implored Him, 
granted gifts even to those who implored Him not, 
opened to those who knocked, went Himself to 
visit those who did not knock, allowed those who 
sought Him to find Him, appeared Himself to those 
who sought Him not. 

(He is the Terror of the Evil.) 

7. But I saw also His awful and terrible rage 
against the stubborn and ungrateful, and how His 
wrath pursued and overtook them whitherward 
they might go ; thus was it impossible to escape 
from His hands, and terrible to fall into them. All 
God s subjects, indeed, saw how the awfulness and 
majesty of God rules everything, and how, according 
to His will only, all great and small things befall. 



(The True Christians are unmoved?) 

THEY obtain, therefore, that for which all the 
wisest men in the world have laboured vainly to 
wit, full liberty of the mind; hence are they 
subject and bound to nothing but to God, nor are 
they obliged to do anything contrary to their will. 
In the world, as I had seen, everything was full of 
disappointment; the business of each man went 
differently from what he wished. Everyone was 
dependent on himself or others more than was 
beseeming, and being forcibly carried along by his 
own will or that of others, he ever warred either 
with himself or with others. Here everything was 
calm. For each one of these men had given 
himself over wholly to God, heeded nothing else, 
recognised no one save God as being above him. 
Therefore they obeyed not the commands of the 
world, flung its promises from them, laughed at its 
threats ; everything outward they declared evil, 
for they were certain of their inward treasure. 
305 u 


( The True Christians are unyielding^) 

2. Therefore the true Christian, who otherwise 
is yielding, cordial, willing, and ready to render 
service, is unyielding as regards the privilege of his 
heart. Therefore he values neither his friends nor 
his foes, nor his lord, nor his king, nor his wife, 
nor his children, nor lastly himself, so highly that 
for the sake of any of these he would abandon his 
purpose to wit, his fear of God ; rather does he 
walk everywhere with straight step. Whatever 
the world around him may do, say, threaten, 
promise, advise, beg, counsel, urge, he does not 
allow himself to be moved by any of these things. 

( The Greatest Freedom and also the Greatest 

3. As the world is ever perverse, and catches at 
the shadow rather than at the truth, so doth it 
here also ; it founds its liberty on this, that he who 
is free should grant nothing to others, and should 
give himself over to sloth, pride, or passion. But 
the conduct of the Christian is far different. Only 
guarding his heart well that he may in freedom 
preserve it for God alone, he employs everything 
else for the wants of his fellow-men. Thus did I 
see and understand that no one in the world is 
more ready to serve than a man who is devoted to 
God. He gladly and willingly undertakes to 
render even such humble services of which he 


whom the world has intoxicated would be ashamed. 
If he but sees what can benefit a fellow-man, he 
does not hesitate, does not delay, spares no trouble, 
does not extol the services he has rendered, nor 
reproachfully remind others of them ; whether he 
meets with gratitude or ingratitude, he continues 
serving quietly and gaily. 

(And what a Fair Thing this is.} 

4. Oh, blessed servitude of the sons of God, than 
which nothing freer can be imagined a servitude 
in which he submits himself to God alone, that he 
may otherwise be free in everything ! Oh, unhappy 
freedom of the world, than which nothing can 
be more slavish, wherein man, heeding not God 
Himself, wretchedly consents to become the slave 
of others, namely, when he serves created beings, 
over whom he should rule, and resists God, whom 
he should obey. Oh, mortals, did we but under 
stand that there is One, One only, over us the 
Lord our Creator and future Judge ! He alone has 
the power to give us commands ; but He commands 
us not as slaves, but as children who should obey 
Him. Free and unfettered He wishes us to be, 
even when we obey Him. Verily, to serve Christ 
is to be as a king ; for to be God s serf is a far 
greater glory than to be the monarch of the whole 

world. What, then, must it be to be God s friend 

and child ? 



(God s Laws are brief J) 

FREE, indeed, the Lord God wishes His children to 
be, but not wilful. Therefore has He hedged them 
in by certain regulations in a fashion better and 
more perfect than anything that I had ever beheld 
in the world. There everything was full of dis 
order, partly because they had no certain rules, 
partly because, as I saw, even when they had 
rules they did not heed them. But those who 
dwelt behind the curtain had most noble rules, and 
also obeyed them. They have, indeed, laws given 
by God Himself that are full of justice, and by 
which it is decreed : 1. That everyone who is 
devoted to God should acknowledge and know Him 
as the only God. 2. That he should serve Him in 
the spirit and in the truth without vainly imagin 
ing corporal things. 3. He should use his tongue, 
not for the purpose of offence, but for the glorifica 
tion of God s holy name. 4. The times and hours 
that are ordained for God s service he shall employ 
for nothing but His inward and outward service. 
5. He shall obey his parents and others whom God 


has placed over him. 6. He shall not injure the 
life of his fellow-men. 7. He shall preserve the 
purity of his body. 8. He shall not seize the 
property of others. 9. He shall beware of false 
hood and deceit. 10. And lastly, he shall maintain 
his mind within barriers and the ordained 

(A Summing-up in Two Words?) 

2. The summa of everything is that everyone 
should love God above all things that can be 
named, and that be should sincerely wish well to 
his fellow-men, as to himself. And this summing- 
up of the contents of God s Word was, as I heard, 
greatly praised ; indeed, I myself found and felt 
that it was more valuable than the countless 
worldly laws, rules, and decrees, for it was a 
thousand times more perfect. 

(The True Christian requires not Copious Laws.) 

3. To him who verily loves God with his whole 
heart, it is not necessary to give many command 
ments as to when, where, how, and how often he 
should serve God, worship and honour Him ; for 
his hearty union with God, and his readiness to 
obey Him is the fashion in which he honours God 
best, and it leads a man to ever and everywhere 
praise God in his mind, and to strive for His glory 
in all his deeds. He also who loves his fellow-men 
as himself requires not copious commandments as 


to where, when, and wherein he should serve them, 
how he should avoid to injure them, and return to 
them what is due to them. This love for his 
fellow-men will in itself tell him fully, and show 
him how he should bear himself towards them. It 
is the sign of the evil man that he always demands 
rules, and wishes to know only from the books of 
law what he should do ; yet at home in our heart 
God s finger shows us that it is our duty to do unto 
our neighbours that which we wish that they 
should do unto us. But as the world cares not for 
this inward testimony of our own conscience, but 
heeds external laws only, therefore is there no true 
order in the world ; there is but suspicion, distrust, 
misunderstanding, ill-will, discord, envy, theft, 
murder, and so forth. Those who are truly 
subject to God heed but their own conscience ; 
what it forbids them they do not, but they do that 
which it tells them they may do ; of gain, favour, 
and such things they take no care. 

(There is Unanimity among True Christians^) 

4. There is therefore equality among them, and 
great similitude also, as if they had all been cast in 
one mould ; all think the same things, believe the 
same things, all like and dislike the same things, 
for all are taught by one and the same spirit. 

And it is worthy of wonder that as I here saw 
with pleasure men who had never seen each 
other, heard each other, and who were separated 
by the whole world, were quite similar the one to 


the other ; for as if one had been in the body of 
the other, they spoke alike, saw alike, felt alike. 
Thus, though there was a great variety in their 
gifts, just as on a musical instrument the sound of 
the strings or pipes differs, and is now weaker, now 
stronger, yet a delightful harmony resounded 
among them. This is the purpose of the Christian 
unity, 1 and the foretoken of eternity, when 
everything will be done in one spirit. 

(Sympathy among True Christians?) 

5. From this equality sympathy among them 
arises ; thus all rejoiced with those who rejoiced, 
were doleful with those who had dole. I had in 
the world seen a most evil thing that had 
grieved me not once : if one fared ill, the others 
rejoiced ; if he erred, the others laughed ; if he 
suffered injury, the others sought gain therefrom ; 
indeed, for the sake of their own gain, pleasure, 
and amusement, they themselves led a fellow-man 
to his downfall and injury. 

But among the holy men I found everything 
otherwise ; for every man strove as bravely and as 
diligently to avert unhappiness and discomfort 
from his neighbours as from himself. Could he 
not avert it, he grieved not otherwise than if the 
misfortune had befallen himself, and he grieved 
because all were one heart, one soul. As the iron 
needles of a compass, when once they have been 

1 Komensky here obviously alludes to the religious 
community to which he belonged. 


touched by the magnet-stone, all point to one and 
the same direction of the world, so the souls of all 
these men, touched by the spirit of love, all turn to 
one and the same direction ; in case of happiness 
to joy, in case of unhappiness to dole. And here 
also did I understand that those are false Chris 
tians who indeed busy themselves carefully with 
their own matters, but care not for those of their 
neighbours. They steadfastly turn aside from the 
hand of God, and preserving carefully their own 
nest, they leave the others outside in the wind and 
rain. But different, far different, I found things 
here. If one suffered, the others did not rejoice ; 
if one hungered, the others did not feast ; if one 
was warring, the others did not sleep ; everything 
was done in common, and it was delightful to 
behold this. 

( There is Community in all Good Things among the 
True Christians^} 

6. As regards possessions, I saw that, though 
most of them were poor, had but little of the things 
the world calls treasures, and cared but little for 
them, yet almost everyone had something that was 
his own. But he did not hide this, nor conceal it 
from the others (as is the world s way) ; he held it 
as in common, readily and gladly granting and 
lending it to him who might require it. Thus 
they all dealt with their possessions not otherwise 
than those who sit together at one table deal with 
the utensils of the table, which all use with equal 


right. Seeing this, I thought with shame that 
with us everything befalls in contrary fashion. 
Some fill and overfill their houses with utensils, 
clothing, food, gold, and silver, as much as they 
can ; meanwhile others, who are equally servants 
of God, have hardly wherewith to clothe and feed 
themselves. But, I must say, I understood that 
this was by no means the will of God ; rather is it 
the way of the world, the perverse world, that 
some should go forth in festive attire, others naked; 
that some should belch from overfilling, while others 
yawn from hunger ; some should laboriously 
earn silver, some vainly squander it; some make 
merry, others wail. Thence there sprung up 
among the one, pride and contempt of the others ; 
and among these again, fury, hatred, and misdeeds. 
But here there was nothing such. All were in 
community with all ; indeed, their souls also. 

( There is Intimacy among True Christians^) 

7. Therefore is there great intimacy among them, 
openness, and holy companionship; therefore all, 
however different their gifts and their callings may 
be, consider and hold themselves as brethren ; for 
they say that we have all sprung from the same 
blood, have been redeemed and cleansed by the 
same blood, that we are children of one Father, 
approach the same table, 1 await the same inheri 
tance in heaven, and so forth. Except as regards 
non-essential matters, one man hath not more than 
1 I.e., at Communion. 


another. Therefore I saw that they surpassed 
each other in kindness and modesty, gladly served 
one another, and each one employed his own 
powers for the benefit of the others. He who had 
judgment counselled ; he who had learning taught ; 
he who had strength defended the others ; he who 
had power maintained order among them. If one 
erred in some things, they admonished him ; if he 
sinned, they punished him ; and each one gladly 
accepted admonition and punishment, and was 
ready to amend everything according to what was 
told him, and even to forfeit his life when it was 
shown to him that it was not his own. 1 

1 I.e., that it belonged to God. 



(It is easy to obey God.) 

NOR is it bitter to them to conform to such orders, 
rather is it their pleasure and delight, while I had 
seen in the world that each man did unwillingly 
what he had to do. Verily, God had deprived these 
men of their stony hearts, and placed in their 
bodies fleshly pliant ones that were obedient to the 
will of God. The devil, indeed, with his crafty 
suggestions, the world with its scandalous examples, 
the body with its innate tardiness on the right 
path, troubled them much. But this they heeded 
not. They drove away the devil by the artillery 
of their prayers ; they guarded themselves against 
the world by the shield of resolute will ; they com 
pelled their bodies to obedience by the scourge of 
discipline. Thus did they joyfully perform their 
duties, and the spirit of Christ that dwelt with 
them gave them such strength that they were 
wanting neither in goodwill nor in good deeds 
(within the limits of earthly perfection). Here, 
then, did I truly see that to serve God with your 


whole heart is not labour, but joy, and I understood 
that those who lay too much stress on the weakness 
of man do not understand the strength and value 
of their new birth, and have, indeed, perhaps not 
attained it. Let them then take heed of this. I 
saw not that anyone among them claimed absolution 
from his sins because of the weakness of the flesh, 
or excused his evil deeds by the frailness of his 
nature. Rather did I see that if a man had 
devoted his whole heart to his Creator, who had 
redeemed him, and consecrated his body as a 
temple, then following his heart, his other limbs 
also freely and gradually took that direction to 
which God willed them. Oh, Christian, whoever 
and wherever thou art, free thyself from the fetters 
of flesh ! See, know, and understand that the 
obstacles which thou imaginest in thy mind are far 
too small that they could impede thy will, if it be 
but sincere. 

2. I saw also that not only to do what God 
commands, but also to suffer what God imposes, 
is easy. Here no few were slapped, spat on, 
whipped by the worldly ones ; yet they rejoiced, 
and lifting their hands heavenward, praised God 
that He had thought them worthy of suffering 
somewhat for His sake ; for not only did they 
believe in Him who was crucified, but they also, 
they said, were crucified for His sake. Some who 
fared not thus envied the others with holy envy, 
fearing God s wrath if they received no correction, 
and separation from Christ if they had no cross. 
Therefore they kissed the rod and stick of God 


whenever they touched them, and gratefully took 
His cross upon them. 

3. Now, all this sprang from their complete sub 
jection to the will of God ; thus they desired to do 
nothing, to be nothing, but what God wished. 
Therefore are they certain that whatever befalls 
them comes to them from God, according to His 
prudent consideration. Nothing unexpected can, 
indeed, befall such men ; for they count wounds, 
prison torture, and death among God s gifts. To 
live joyfully or dolefully is indifferent to them, 
except that they consider the former more 
dangerous, the latter safer. Therefore they de 
light in their troubles, wounds and stripes, and 
are proud of them. In all things they are so 
hardy in God s faith, that if they suffer not 
somewhat, they imagine that they are idling and 
losing time. But let all hold their hands aloof 
from these men ; the more willingly they offer 
their back to the stripes, the more difficult it is 
to strike them ; the more similar they are to 
fools, the more dangerous it is to mock them. 
For they are not their own masters, but belong 
to God ; and all that is done unto them God 
considers as done unto Himself. 



(To be Content with what a Man has is True 

THE world is full of Marthas, who run and 
wander to and fro, toil, and scrape silver together 
from all directions, and yet never have enough. 
But these holy men have a different nature ; each of 
them sits quietly at the feet of his Lord, and this, and 
what he receives therethrough, is sufficient to him. 
He holds the grace of God that resides within him 
as the most precious treasure ; in this alone he finds 
delight ; external things which the world calls riches 
he considers as a burden rather than a gain, yet 
they use them for the necessities of life for the 
necessities only, I say. Therefore, whether the 
Lord God grants each of them little or much, each 
of them says that he has enough. They verily 
believe, and put their trust therein, that they are 
under God s protection, and therefore think it 
unseemly to desire anything beyond that which 
God has granted them. 

2. Now I beheld here a wondrous thing. There 
were some among these holy men who had an 



ample supply of riches, silver, gold crowns, and 
sceptres (for there are such men also among God s 
chosen) ; others had scarcely anything beyond a 
half -naked body, that was dried up by hunger and 
thirst. Yet the former said they had nothing, and 
the latter said they had everything, and both were 
of good cheer. And then I understood that he is 
truly rich and in want of nothing who knows how 
to be content with that which he has. To have a 
large, a small, or no house, costly, poor, or no 
clothing, many friends or one, or none, high rank, 
low rank, or no rank, to have or not to have rank 
or office or glory, generally to be something or to 
be nothing, is to them one and the same thing ; for 
as man must believe that to go, to stand, to sit 
wherever God leads, or places, or seats him is the 
only truly good thing, better even than man can 

3. Oh, blessed and most desirable abundance ! 
How happy are those who are rich in this fashion ! 
For though some may appear wretched and miser 
able in the eyes of the world, yet are they a 
thousand times better provided, even as regards 
external things, than the rich men of the world ; 
for these who are their own purveyors are, with 
their goods, exposed to thousands of accidents ; 
fire, water, rust, theft, and so forth may deprive them 
of them. But the holy men who have God as their 
purveyor ever find with Him an inexhaustible store 
for all their wants. He daily feeds them from His 
store-rooms, clothes them from His chamber, gives 
them from His treasury that which they require 


for their expenditure ; not, indeed, in great abund 
ance, but all that is seemly and sufficient. He 
does this not according to the minds of men, but 
according to His providence, on which they rely a 
thousand times more readily than on their minds. 


(The Angels as Guardians^ 

Now nothing in the world appeared so exposed and 
subject to divers dangers than the band of the 
godly, at which the devil and the world looked 
angrily, menacing to strike and smite them. Yet I 
saw that they were well sheltered ; for I saw that 
their whole community was encompassed by a wall 
of fire. When I came nearer I saw that this wall 
moved, for it was nothing else but a procession of 
thousands and thousands of angels who walked 
around them ; no foe, therefore, could approach 
them. Each one of them also had an angel who 
had been given to him by God and ordained to be 
his guardian, that he might guard him and preserve 
him, and protect him against all dangers and snares, 
pits, ambushes, traps, and temptations. They are, 
no doubt (I understood and saw this), the friends of 
the men who are their fellow-servants, and watch 
them that they may uphold the duties for which 
they were created by God ; thus they serve men 
readily, guard them against the devil, evil folk, 

and unhappy accidents; and carrying them, if 
321 x 


necessary, on their own hands, they shield them 
from injury. Here, too, I understood how great 
is the import of godliness ; for these beautiful and 
pure spirits remained only where they smelt the 
perfume of virtue, while they were driven away by 
the stink of sin and uncleanliness. 

(The Angels our Teachers?) 

2. I saw also (and it is not beseeming to conceal 
this) another advantage of this holy, invisible 
companionship to wit, that the angels were not 
only as guards, but also as teachers to the chosen. 
They often give them secret knowledge of divers 
things, and teach them the deep secret mysteries 
of God. For as they ever behold the countenance 
of the omniscient God, nothing that a godly man 
can wish to know can be secret to them, and with 
God s permission they reveal that which they 
know, and which it is necessary that the chosen 
should know. Therefore the heart of the godly 
often feels that which has befallen elsewhere, 
mourns with the mournful, and rejoices with the 
joyful. Therefore, also, can they, by means of 
dreams and other visions, or of secret inspirations, 
imagine in their minds that which has befallen, 
or befalls, or will befall. Thence comes also other 
increase of the gifts of God within us, deep, valu 
able meditations, divers wondrous discoveries by 
means of which man often surpasses himself, though 
he knows not how he has that power. Oh, blessed 
school of the sons of God ! It is this which often 


causes the astonishment of all worldly-wise men, 
when they see how some plain little fellow speaks 
wondrous mysteries ; prophesies the future changes 
in the world and in the Church as if he saw them 
before his eyes ; mentions the names of yet unborn 
kings and heads of states ; proclaims and announces 
other things that could not be conceived either by 
any study of the stars or by any endeavour of 
human wit. 1 

We cannot sufficiently thank God, our guardian, 
for these things, nor love sufficiently these our 
heavenly teachers. But let us return to the 
security of the godly. 

(God is the Shield of His own.) 

Then I saw that every one of the godly was 
protected not only by the guard of angels, but also 
by the venerable presence of God. Thus terror 
befell those who, contrary to the will of God, 
endeavoured to touch them. I saw miracles among 
some of them, how they were thrown into the water 
or fire, or as a prey to lions and wild beasts ; yet 
they suffered no injury. Human fury attacked 
some of them shamefully. Bands of tyrants and 
hangmen, with countless followers, surrounded 
them. Sometimes powerful kings and whole 
kingdoms strove unto exhaustion to destroy them. 

1 This is an allusion to the so-called prophecies of Kotter, 
Ponatovska and Drabik. I have referred to them in my 
" History of Bohemian Literature," pp. 256-259, and pp. 


Yet nothing befell them ; they stood together, or 
went their way merrily, pursuing their callings. 
And now I understood what it is to have God as a 
shield, for He entrusts to His servants certain tasks 
in the world, and they manfully do their duty. 
He is ever in them and with them, and guards them 
as the apple of His eye, that they may not die 
before they accomplish the task for which they 
were sent into the world. 

( The Holy Boasts of the Godly.) 

4. This, indeed, the godly know, and they cheer 
fully rely on God s protection. I have heard some 
of them boast that they were not afraid even 
should the shadow of death be before them ; even 
should thousands of thousands be in arms against 
them ; even should the whole world be enraged, the 
land be tossed into the middle of the sea, the whole 
world be full of devils, and so forth. Oh, most 
happy security, unheard of in the world ! For man, 
closed up and sheltered in the hand of God, is 
removed from the influence of all other things. 
Let us, then, all ye honest servants of Christ, under 
stand that we have a most watchful guardian, 
protector, defender the Almighty God Himself. 
Therefore let us rejoice ! 



WHILE I bad previously seen in the world much 
unquietude and toil, trouble and care, horror and 
fear among all estates, I now found much quiet and 
much goodwill among those who were subject to 
God ; for they dreaded not God, knowing well how 
kindly His heart inclined to them. Neither did 
they find within themselves anything over which 
they could grieve. Of all good things (as has 
already been shown) they had no want ; neither 
felt they any discomfort from the things that 
surrounded them, for they heeded them not. 

( The True Christians heed not the Derision of the 

2. Now it is true that the evil world granted 
them but little rest, and, indeed, did everything it 
could to spite and mock them ; it grinned at them, 
bit its thumb at them, pelted them, spat at them, 
tripped them up, and whatever worse things can 
be imagined. Of this I saw many examples, and I 
understood that it befell, according to the orders of 
God the Highest, that those who wish to be good 

3 2 5 


here must wear cap and bells ; for the ways of the 
world bring it with them that what is wisdom 
before God is to the world sheer folly. I saw, 
therefore, that many to whom God had granted 
His noblest gifts had to endure the contempt and 
derision of the others, often even of those who 
were nearest to them. Thus, I say, did it befall ; 
but I saw also that the godly heeded this not, that 
they, indeed, gloried therein that the worldly 
stopped up their noses before them as before a 
stench, averted their eyes from them as from 
something loathsome, scorned them as fools, put 
them to death as malefactors. For they said that 
their watchword, by which it was known that they 
belonged to Christ, was " not to please the world." 
They said also that he who knows not how to 
suffer wrongs gaily hath not yet fully the spirit of 
Christ ; thus spake they of these things, and 
fortified each other. They also said that the world 
showed no indulgence likewise to those who 
belonged to it; indeed, it insulted, deceived, 
robbed, tormented them ; if, then, it wished to do 
the same with the godly, it was well. " If," said 
they, "we cannot avoid this torment, we will 
endure it there, where, for the accidental injuries 
inflicted by the worldly, we are recompensed by 
the bountiful, generous kindness of God. There 
fore do we consider their derision, injury, and ill- 
will as our gain." 


(To the True Christian everything^ is indifferent^} 

3. Nay, this also did I understand, that these 
true Christians would not even hear of the dis 
tinctions between what the world calls happiness 
or unhappiness, riches or poverty, honour or 
dishonour ; for everything, they said, that proceeds 
from the hand of God is good, happy, and salutary. 
Nothing, therefore, grieves them ; they are never 
irresolute or reluctant. To command or to obey, 
to teach others or to be taught by them, to have 
plenty or to suffer want, is one and the same thing 
to the true Christian ; he proceeds on his way with 
a calm countenance, striving only to please God. 
They say that the world is not so heavy that it 
may not be endured, nor so valuable that its loss 
need be regretted. Therefore neither the desire 
for anything nor the loss of anything causes the 
true Christian suffering. If someone smites him 
on the right cheek, he cheerfully turns to him the 
other one also. And if one disputes with him 
about his cloak, he lets him have his coat also. 
He leaves everything to God, his witness and judge, 
and feels assured that all these things will, in the 
course of time, be revised, amended, and at last 
justly decided. 

1 I.e., all external things. 


( What the True Christian sees outwardly?) 

4. Neither does one of God s own allow himself 
to be disturbed in the peace of his mind by the 
nations of the world. Many things, indeed, 
displease him ; but he does not, therefore, grieve or 
sorrow within his mind. Let that go backward 
that will not go straightly forward ; that fall that 
cannot stand ; that perish that cannot or will not 
endure. Why should a Christian grieve for this 
whose conscience is righteous, and who has in his 
heart the love of God ? If men will not conform to 
our customs, let us then conform to theirs ; at least, 
as far as our conscience permits it. The world, it 
is true, is going from bad to worse, but by our 
fretting shall we improve it ? 

(The True Christian heedeth not the Tumult of the 

5. The mighty of the world rage and dispute 
about crowns and sceptres ; thence arise devastations 
of lands and countries ; but this also the enlight 
ened Christian heeds not greatly within his mind. 
He thinks that it is of little or no import who 
rules the world ; for the world, even should Satan 
himself hold its sceptre, cannot destroy the Church. 
On the other hand, if a crowned angel ruled it, it 
would yet remain the world, and those who desire 
to be truly godly would yet have to suffer. It 
therefore appears indifferent to them who sits on 


the throne of the world ; indeed, if one of the godly 
sits on it (and experience has proved this), many 
flatterers and hypocrites mix with the band of the 
godly, and through this admixture the piety of the 
others also cools ; and, on the other hand, in time of 
open persecution only the godly serve God, and 
with full ardour. It must also be considered that 
in such circumstances 1 many conceal themselves 
under the covering of the common welfare, piety, 
honesty, privileges; but could we look through 
them thoroughly, it would be found that they 
seek kingdoms, privileges, glory, not for Christ, 
but for themselves. Therefore the true Christian 
lets all such matters befall, as they can and will. 
To him who is alone in the dwelling of his heart, 
God and His grace are sufficient. 

(The Godly One also heeds not the Sufferings that 
befall the Church?) 

6. Neither do the temptations that surround the 
Church trouble an enlightened soul. Thegodly know 
that triumph will at last be theirs. They know 
also that they cannot obtain it without a victory, 
nor obtain a victory without fighting, nor a fight 
without foes and hard conflict with them. They 
therefore bravely endure what may befall them or 
others ; for they are certain that victory is God s, 
who will guide all things whither He designs them ; 
be it even that rocks, mountains, a sea or abyss 

] I.e., under the rule of a godly prince. 


be in the way, yet must they at last disappear. 
They know also that all this raging of God s foes 
against Him can but increase the glory of His 
name. For if some matter begun for God s glory 
had met with no resistance, it might be thought 
that it had been begun b}" men and carried out by 
the force of man. Now, on the contrary, the more 
furious is the resistance of the world and all its 
devils, the clearer does the power of God appear. 

( The Sorrows of the Godly can easily be driven 
away in a Twofold Fashion^) 

7. Nay, even if such accidents befell them (and 
I saw examples of this) that gave them dole within 
their minds, yet they endured not long with them, 
and soon vanished, as a little cloud before the sun. 
For they have a twofold remedy ; one is the 
thought of a happy future, which is of greater 
value than the troubles of the world, and which 
awaits them, That which befalls here is but 
temporary ; it appears and again vanishes, is lost, 
disappears ; therefore is it unbeseeming to crave 
any of these worldly things much, or to grieve 
much at their loss, for such things are but as the 
clatter of a moment. The other remedy of the 
godly is that they have ever a guest in their 
homes, and if they converse but a little with Him, 
they are able to drive away every grief, even the 
greatest. This guest is God, their comforter, to 
whom they cling with their whole hearts, and to 
whom they narrate familiarly and openly all that 


grieves them. They have indeed this brave con 
fidence, that in all their concerns they hasten to 
appeal to God. Every one of their transgressions, 
offences, deficiencies, weaknesses, sorrows, strivings, 
they pour into His fatherly lap, and they entrust 
themselves to Him in everything. And as the 
Lord God can but love this filial, kind confidence 
in Himself, He cannot but grant the godly His 
consolation, as well as His help that they may bear 
their suffering. Thus the more their sufferings are 
renewed and multiplied, the more is God s peace 
renewed and multiplied within them, and that 
surpasses all earthly wit. 



(A Good Conscience is an Incessant Feast.} 

THE godly have not only simple peace within them, 
but also joy and pleasure, which flow to their hearts 
from the presence and feeling of God s love. For 
where God is, there is heaven ; where heaven is, 
there is eternal joy, and where there is eternal joy 
there men desire nothing further. All the joys of 
the world are but a shade, jest, derision, compared 
to this joy; only I know not in what words to 
describe and portray it. I saw, I saw, I saw and 
understood that to have within you God, with His 
celestial treasures, is so glorious a thing that all the 
glory, splendour, glitter of the world cannot be 
compared to it. It is a thing so joyful that the 
whole world could neither take anything from it 
nor add anything to it, so great and high that the 
whole world can neither conceive it nor contain it. 


2. For how can anything be otherwise than 
sweet and joyful to a man who possesses this 

33 2 


divine light within him through the Spirit of God, 
such freedom from the world and its slavery, such 
certain and ample divine protection, such safety 
from enemies and accidents ; lastly, as has been 
shown, that feeling of continuous peace ? This is 
that sweetness that the world understandeth not ; 
this that sweetness that he who once tasted it 
strives for at any risk ; this that sweetness from 
which no other sweetness can separate us, no 
bitterness drive us away, no other charm entice us 
away, and from which no bitterness, not even 
death, can turn us away. 

3. And then I understood what sometimes impels 
many of God s saints to throw from them so 
willingly honours, favour of the people, their 
worldly estates. They would be equally ready to 
cast from them the whole world, if it were theirs. 
I understood also how others, again, cheerfully gave 
over their bodies to prison, whip, or death, ready 
to suffer a thousand deaths, could the world repeat 
the penalty. Should they perish by means of 
water or fire, or under the sword of the executioner, 
they were yet prepared cheerfully to sing hymns. 
Oh, Lord Jesus, how sweet art Thou to the souls 
that have tasted of Thee! Blessed is he who 
comprehends this delight ! 



I HAVE till now narrated but the incidents common 
to all true Christians ; but when I saw that among 
them also, as among the worldly ones, there were 
divers callings, I became desirous to witness how 
they administered their offices. Here, again, I 
found a most noble order in everything, delightful 
to behold. I will not fully describe all this ; 
briefly only will I mention some things. 

( What Marriage is among Christians?) 

2. Their marriage, I saw, was not widely apart 
from virginity, for with them there is much 
moderation both in their desires and in their cares. 
Instead of those steely fetters, I saw here golden 
clasps ; instead of endeavours to separate, I saw 
joyful union both of bodies and of hearts. Then if 
any hardship yet clung to this estate, it was made 
good by the multiplication of the subjects of God s 
kingdom that resulted from it. 



( What Magistrates the True Christians have among 

3. Now he to whom it befell to sit above the 
others and be called magistrate behaved thus to 
the subjects that were entrusted to him as is the 
manner of parents to their children, that is, kindly 
and carefully ; and it was delightful to witness 
this. I saw, also, that many of these magistrates 
folded their hands and praised God. Then, again, 
he who was under the rule of another strove to 
bear himself in such a fashion that he was a 
subject not only in word but also in deed. He 
honoured God in this that he showed great respect 
and attention, both in words and in deeds and 
thoughts, to him whom He had placed over him, 
whatever his character might be. 

(The Learned Men among tJte Christians^) 

4. When I had proceeded farther among them, I 
found no few learned men, who, contrary to the 
customs of the world, surpassed the others in 
humility as greatly as they did in learning, and 
they were sheer gentleness and kindness. It befell 
that I spoke to one of them, from whom it was 
thought no earthly learning was concealed ; yet he 
bore himself as a most simple man, sighing deeply 
over his stupidity and ignorance. The knowledge 
of languages they held in slight value, if the 
knowledge of wisdom was not added to it. For 


languages, they said, give not wisdom, but have 
that purpose only that by means of them we 
can converse with many and divers inhabitants 
of the terrestrial globe, be they alive or dead. 
Therefore not he, they said, who can speak many 
languages, but he who can speak of useful things, is 
learned. Now they called useful things all God s 
works, and they said that arts are of some use for 
the purpose of understanding Him ; but they also 
say that the true fountain of knowledge is the 
Holy Writ, and the Holy Ghost our teacher, and 
that the purpose of all true knowledge is Christ, 
He who was crucified. Therefore, as I saw, all 
these learned men tended with all their learning to 
Christ, as to the centre ; and everything, they say, 
that was an obstacle to their approaching Christ 
they reject, even if it was most learned. I saw 
also that they read divers human books, according 
to their pursuits ; but the choicest only they read 
carefully, and they always consider human state 
ments as human only. They write books them 
selves also, but not to spread their fame among the 
people, but rather because they hope to impart 
something useful to their fellow-men, to aid the 
common welfare, to frustrate the wicked. 

( The Priests and Theologians of the True 

5. Of priests and preachers I saw a certain 
number among them, according to the wants 
of the Church ; all were in simple attire, and 


their ways were gentle and kind. They spent 
their time more with God than with men, in 
prayer, reading, and reflection. What time they 
have besides they employ in teaching others, either 
generally in the assemblies or separately in private. 
Their hearers assured me, and I felt it also myself, 
that no one could listen to their preaching without 
inward emotion of the heart and the conscience, 
for the power of divine eloquence came from their 
lips. I saw also rejoicing and tears among the 
listeners, when the preachers spoke of the mercy 
of God, and of the ingratitude of the world; so 
truthfully, livingly, and fervently did they preach. 
They would have held it a disgrace to teach others 
anything wherein they had not already set them 
an example ; therefore one can learn from them, 
even when they are silent. I approached one of 
these preachers, wishing to speak to him. He was 
a man with venerable grey hair, and on his 
countenance somewhat of the divine incontinently 
appeared. When he spoke to me, his speech was 
full of a kindly severity, and it was in every way 
clear that he was God s ambassador ; for he was in 
no way tainted by the smell of the world. When, 
as is our custom, I wished to address him according 
to his rank, 1 he permitted it not, calling such 
things worldly fooling ; it was a sufficient title and 
honour for him, he said, if I addressed him as 
"servant of God," or, if I wished it, as "my father." 
When he gave me his blessing I felt, I know not 

1 JT.e., as preacher or priest. 


what sweetness and joy that arose within my heart, 
and then I truly understood that true theology is 
a more powerful and more penetrative thing than 
we generally imagine. And I blushed, remembering 
the haughtiness, pride, avarice, the mutual quarrels, 
the envy, hatred, drunkenness, and carnality of 
some of our priests ; the words and deeds of such 
men, verily, are so wide apart that they seem to 
speak as in jest only of the virtues of Christian 
life. On the other hand, these preachers, that I 
may speak the truth, pleased me, being men of 
fervent mind and continent body, men who were 
lovers of celestial things, but heeded not earthly 
ones. They were careful of their flock, forgetful 
of themselves, moderate in wine, though their 
minds were intoxicated by the spirit of holiness, 
modest of speech, though plentiful in good deeds ; 
and each one among them strove to be first in 
work, last in good deeds ; in all their deeds, words, 
and thoughts, they cared but for their spiritual 



(Death is pleasant to a Christian^} 

Now when I had walked sufficiently among these 
Christians and beheld their deeds, I at last found 
that Death walked about among them also; but 
she was not, as in the world, of morose aspect, 
naked, unlovely, but she was folded up in the 
grave-clothes of Christ, that He had left in his 
sepulchre. She approached now this man, now 
that one, telling him that it was time that he 
should leave the world. Oh, how great was the 
joy and delight of those who received such news ! 
Only that this should befall sooner, they were 
ready to endure all suffering, the sword, fire, pincers, 
and every torture. Thus did each of them fall 
into his slumber, peacefully, quietly, and gladly. 

( What befell after their Death.) 

2. Then I, who wished to see what would now 

befall them, beheld God s angel, who, according to 

His divine command, sought out for each of them 

a spot where he was to have his little chamber, 



and where his body should have rest. When it 
had been laid there either by friends or by 
enemies, or by the angels themselves, they guarded 
the sepulchre, that the graves of the holy might 
be preserved safely from Satan, and that not even 
the smallest atom of the dust within them should 
be lost. Meanwhile, other angels took the soul, 
and carried it upward with splendour and divine 
rejoicing. Then when I put my glasses of faith 
aright, I gazed upward, and beheld unspeakable 



AND behold, the Lord of Hosts sat on His throne on 
high, and there was splendour around Him from one 
end of the heavens to the other, and under His 
feet there was a gleaming as of crystals, emeralds, 
and sapphires, and His throne was of jasper, and 
around Him there was a beautiful rainbow. Thou 
sands of thousands and ten times a thousand times a 
hundred thousand angels stood around Him, singing 
together : " Holy, holy, holy, Lord of the hosts ! 
Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory." 

2. Then twenty-four elders fell on their knees 
before the throne, laid down their crowns at the 
feet of Him who lives in all eternity, and sang with 
a loud voice : " Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive 
glory, and honour, and power, for according to 
Thy will do they abide, and have they been 

3. I saw also before the throne another great 
host whom none could count ; in it were men of 
all nations, and races, countries, and tongues ; and 
as the angels carried upward those of God s saints 
who had died on the earth, the number ever 
increased, and the sound ever became louder. 


They exclaimed : " Amen, blessing and glory, 
wisdom, gratitude, and honour, power and 
strength to our God in all eternity ! Amen." 

4. Now did I behold splendour, light, magnificence, 
and unspeakable glory, hear sounds and notes that 
are inexpressible, witness things that were joyful 
and more wondrous than our eyes, ears, and heart 
can conceive. 

5. Terrified by the sight of these so glorious 
heavenly things, I also fell down before the throne 
of divine majesty, ashamed of my sinfulness, and of 
being a man of tainted lips, and I exclaimed : 
" Lord, Lord, Lord, Thou who art a strong God, 
compassionate, merciful, long-suffering, and plenti 
ful in mercy and justice ! He who grants mercy to 
thousands, and forgives unrighteousness, trespasses 
and sin. O Lord ! have mercy on me the sinner 
also, for the sake of Jesus Christ." 



WHEN I had spoken thus, my Saviour, the Lord 
Jesus Christ, from the centre of His throne, spake 
these delightful words : " Be not afeard, my dear 
one. I am with thee, thy Redeemer and Comforter, 
therefore be not afeard. Thy misdeed has been 
taken from thee, and thy sin has been purged. 
Rather be glad and rejoice, for thy name is 
written down among those of the elect ; if thou 
servest me faithfully thou wilt be as one of them. 
Whatever thou hast seen, use it in fear of me, and 
thou wilt behold yet greater things. Be careful of 
those things only for which I have called thee, and 
walk on that path to glory which I have shown 
thee. Abide in the world as long as I leave thee 
in it, as a pilgrim, a stranger, a foreigner, a guest ; 
but remain with me as a member of my household. 
I give unto thee the citizenship of heaven. Be 
therefore careful in the world. Have a mind that 
is as much as possible lifted both upward to me 
and kindly downward to thy fellow-men. Use, 
then, worldly things as long as thou art there, but 
rejoice in heavenly ones only. Be compliant to me 
only, adverse and refractory to the world and the 



flesh. Guard within thee the wisdom that I have 
granted thee, and outwardly the simplicity that I 
have counselled thee ; have a resounding heart, but 
a silent tongue. Be tender in thy feeling for the 
suffering of others, but hardy against the wrong 
that may befall thee. Serve with thy soul me 
alone, with thy body him whom thou canst or 
must. What I order thee thou must do; the 
burden I lay on thee thou must bear. Be to the 
world unbending, and cling ever to me. Let thy 
body be in the world, thy heart with me. If thou 
wilt but act thus, thou wilt be blessed, and wilt 
fare well. Proceed, then, my dear son, and remain 
true to thy calling until thy end, but gladly enjoy 
the solace to which I have led thee." 



THEN the vision vanished from mine eyes, and 
falling on my knees, I raised my eyes upward 
towards my Redeemer and thanked Him as well as 
I knew, saying : 

" Be Thou blessed, my Lord and God, Thou who 
art worthy of eternal praise and fame, and blessed 
be Thy revered and glorious name in all eternity. 
May Thy angels glorify Thee, and all the saints 
proclaim Thy praise. For Thou art great in Thy 
might, and Thy wisdom is unfathomable, and Thy 
mercy is greater than all Thy works. I will 
glorify Thee, O Lord, as long as I live, and sing of 
Thy holy name as long as I exist. For Thou hast 
cheered rne with Thy mercy and filled my mouth 
with rejoicings. Thou hast snatched me from 
violent torrents, and saved me from deep whirl 
pools, and placed my feet on safe ground. I was 
distant from Thee, O God, and eternal sweetness, 
but Thou hast had mercy upon me, and hast come 
here unto me. I erred, but Thou didst admonish 
me. I wandered about, knowing not whither to 
go, but Thou didst lead me on the right path. I had 
gone astray from Thee and lost both Thee and my- 



self, but appearing to me, Thou broughtest me back 
to myself. I had gone as far as the bitterness of 
hell, but Thou, tearing me back, hast led me to the 
sweetness of heaven. Therefore may my soul bless 
its Lord, and my whole innermost mind praise His 
holy name. Hy heart is ready, my heart is ready ; 
I will sing and rejoice in Thee. For Thou art 
higher than all height and deeper than all depth, 
wonderful, glorious, and full of mercy. Woe to the 
foolish souls who leave Thee and think that they 
will find solace elsewhere, for it exists but in Thee. 
Neither the earth nor the abyss have it. There in 
Thee alone is there eternal rest. Heaven and earth 
are Tby works, and they are good and beautiful 
and desirable, because they are Thy works. Yet 
are they not as good, as beautiful, as desirable as 
Thou, their Creator. Therefore can they not 
entirely fill up and satiate the spirits that seek 
solace. Thou art, O Lord, the plenitude of 
plenitudes ! Late became I enamoured of Thee, O 
Eternal Beauty, for late did I know Thee. But I 
know Thee when Thou gleamest on me, O Heavenly 
Light ! Let him refrain from Thy praise who 
knows not Thy mercy. But may my innermost 
mind profess the Lord. Oh, who will grant it to 
me, that my heart be intoxicated by Thee, O 
Eternal Odour, that I may forget everything that is 
not Thee, O my God ? Conceal Thyself no longer 
from my heart, most beauteous of beauties ! If 
worldly things obscure Thee to me, I die. May I 
but behold Thee, be with Thee, never lose Thee 
again ! Uphold me, O Lord, guide me, support me, 


that I may not stray from Thee and slip ! Grant 
that I may love Thee with an eternal love, and that 
I may love besides Thee no other things, except for 
Thy sake, and in Thee, O Infinitive Love ! But what 
more should I say, O my Lord ? I am here ; I am 
Thine. I am Thine own; I am Thine for ever. 
I renounce heaven and earth that I may have Thee. 
Do not withdraw Thyself from me. I have enough 
that is unchangeable through all eternity ; I have 
enough in Thee alone. My soul and my body 
rejoice in Thee, the living God. When, then, shall 
I come to Thee, and appear before Thy countenance ? 
When Thou wishest, O my Lord God, take me ! I 
am here ; I am ready. Call me when Thou wilt, 
where Thou wilt, how Thou wilt, I will go whither 
Thou orderest; I will do that which Thou dost 
command. May but Thy good spirit direct me and 
lead me through the snares of the world as through 
an even country, and may Thy mercy guide me on 
my way, and lead me through the alas ! doleful 
darkness of the world to eternal light ! 

" Amen and Amen." 

Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra Pax 
Hominibus bonse Voluntatis." 


Printed by Cowan r> Co., Ltd., Perth, 


self, but appearing to me, Thou broughtest me back 
to myself. I had gone as far as the bitterness of 
hell, but Thou, tearing me back, hast led me to the 
sweetness of heaven. Therefore may my soul bless 
its Lord, and my whole innermost mind praise His 
holy name. My heart is ready, my heart is ready ; 
I will sing and rejoice in Thee. For Thou art 
higher than all height and deeper than all depth, 
wonderful, glorious, and full of mercy. Woe to the 
foolish souls who leave Thee and think that they 
will find solace elsewhere, for it exists but in Thee. 
Neither the earth nor the abyss have it. There in 
Thee alone is there eternal rest. Heaven and earth 
are Thy works, and they are good and beautiful 
and desirable, because they are Thy works. Yet 
are they not as good, as beautiful, as desirable as 
Thou, their Creator. Therefore can they not 
entirely fill up and satiate the spirits that seek 
solace. Thou art, O Lord, the plenitude of 
plenitudes ! Late became I enamoured of Thee, O 
Eternal Beauty, for late did I know Thee. But I 
know Thee when Thou gleamest on me, O Heavenly 
Light ! Let him refrain from Thy praise who 
knows not Thy mercy. But may my innermost 
mind profess the Lord. Oh, who will grant it to 
me, that my heart be intoxicated by Thee, O 
Eternal Odour, that I may forget everything that is 
not Thee, O my God ? Conceal Thyself no longer 
from my heart, O most beauteous of beauties ! If 
worldly things obscure Thee to me, I die. May I 
but behold Thee, be with Thee, never lose Thee 
again ! Uphold me, O Lord, guide me, support me, 


that I may not stray from Thee and slip ! Grant 
that I may love Thee with an eternal love, and that 
I may love besides Thee no other things, except for 
Thy sake, and in Thee, O Infinitive Love ! But what 
more should I say, O my Lord ? I am here ; I am 
Thine. I am Thine own; I am Thine for ever. 
I renounce heaven and earth that I may have Thee. 
Do not withdraw Thyself from me. I have enough 
that is unchangeable through all eternity ; I have 
enough in Thee alone. My soul and my body 
rejoice in Thee, the living God. When, then, shall 
I come to Thee, and appear before Thy countenance ? 
When Thou wishest, O my Lord God, take me ! I 
am here ; I am ready. Call me when Thou wilt, 
where Thou wilt, how Thou wilt, I will go whither 
Thou orderest; I will do that which Thou dost 
command. May but Thy good spirit direct me and 
lead me through the snares of the world as through 
an even country, and may Thy mercy guide me on 
my way, and lead me through the alas ! doleful 
darkness of the world to eternal light ! 

" Amen and Amen." 

" Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra Pax 
Hominibus bonse Voluntatis." 


Printed by Cowan & Co., Ltd., Perth, 

glNDING SECT. MQV8 1978 



Comenius, Johann Amos 

The labyrinth of the 
world. Ed. and tr. by 
Count Lutzow